Uptick in sociology job market?

Inside Higher Ed summarizes a ASA report that suggests the number of open jobs in 2011 were near 2008 levels:

In 2011, the number of faculty jobs posted either for assistant professors or positions for which any faculty rank is possible was just 4 percent below the level in 2008, the year in which the economic downturn hit in the fall. And so many of the openings announced in 2008 were canceled that it is possible there were more actual openings in 2011. There are among the results in a new job market report issued by the American Sociological Association.

The number of faculty jobs in 2009 fell 35 percent, and the 2010 total was 14 percent below the 2008 level, so the new figures represent a significant rebound in job openings.

The data are based on openings listed with the ASA. Not all departments list positions there, so the totals don’t reflect every opening, but sociologists say that the ASA reports accurately reflect trends in the discipline, even considering positions listed elsewhere.

The top 5 specialties in demand: social control/law/crime deviance, open, race and ethnicity, medicine and health, and work/economy/organizations. The bottom 5 (last being the lowest): comparative and historical approaches, sociology of culture, education, qualitative approaches, and application and practice.

Overall, this would seem like good information though it will likely take some time to sort through the backlog of candidates who couldn’t find jobs in recent years.

Just a thought: I wonder what exactly the job figures from year to year tell us. Overall, is there a better way to get at whether the discipline is expanding or is doing well? Is it better for big departments to get bigger? For new schools to add sociology undergraduate and graduate programs? For the beginning of new graduate programs? For existing faculty to get more recognition or better salaries? To compare the growth in sociology to other disciplines?

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