Industries & Professions /
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts there will be a rapid decline (by 32 percent) in employment in the semiconductor industry through 2018. This decline is due to two main factors: higher productivity and increased imports. Many semiconductor manufacturers have installed new machinery that can produce twice as many wafers as the old machines. This increased automation has streamlined the staff of many manufacturing plants. In addition, manufacturers have begun to build plants in overseas locations where semiconductors can be made more cheaply than in the United States. Imports of more affordable semiconductors from non-U.S. manufacturers is expected to rise in the coming years, which will lessen the need for semiconductor manufacturing technicians in the United States. And topping this off is the fact that microchips have gotten so complex and small (they are now measure in nanometers), and because of their sensitivity to dust, humans can no longer handle them in production. As the technology advances, the employment opportunities for semiconductor technicians will continue to decrease.