Underscoring how engineering staffing remains robust, one company recently announced it is working to expand its workforce because of surging demand.
The U.S. economy has struggled to recover in the wake of the financial and housing crises. The nation's unemployment rate soared after speculative bubbles burst in 2006, rising to more than 10 percent. However, the U.S. economy has grown over the past few years, albeit unevenly, with private companies adding a net surplus of workers over the past year or so.
In March, private firms added 120,000 new workers to their payrolls, helping the overall unemployment rate fall to 8.2 percent. Some states have fared far better in the wake of the crisis, with Texas, for example, adding jobs at a rapid clip. Engineering has served as one of the few consistently strong segments of the labor economy over the past few years, underscoring how demand for workers with such a background has remained robust.
The Obama Administration, along with scores of technology experts, have increasingly urged the government to help spur more students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Some companies have reported difficulty in attracting and maintaining such technical workers, which has hurt their growth plans.
Research and Development Magazine reports that officials from Purdue University and Automotive Robotics Proving Labs Inc. recently announced they are opening a new 50,000-square-foot research and testing facility in Indiana. As a result, they said they are actively working to hire more than 30 engineers to help staff the new center.
"This new facility supports Caterpillar by performing state-of-the-art testing on engines that meet tough new emission and fuel economy requirements," according to university officials.
Moreover, Automotive Robots Proving Labs president Ravi Gudapati said that the new $10 million facility would serve as a major testing center for Caterpillar, among other potential clients.
"We are excited about expanding our relationship with Caterpillar on this important project, and to develop a significant presence in the State of Indiana," he said. "This new facility supports Caterpillar by performing state-of-the-art testing on engines that meet tough new emission and fuel economy requirements."
State officials echoed such a sentiment, noting that the investment would help drive future growth and would position the state as a leader in engineering research and development.