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Shortage of Engineers Seems Highly Improbable

December 02, 1990

Your article, "TRW Quietly Cuts 1,600 Jobs" (Nov. 13), mentions other layoffs at Northrop, McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed--a total of 17,200 aerospace jobs lost in Southern California this year from just these four companies. These layoffs preceded the approval of a leaner U.S. defense budget. The aerospace bust has hardly begun. Five years of successive reductions in the defense budget have been promised. The announcements of aerospace program cutbacks are beginning for the current fiscal year.

How can The Times in another article lend credence to the National Science Foundation claim that there will be a shortage of 9,600 Ph.Ds in science and engineering per year in this country in the face of so many scientists and engineers losing their jobs? Students know better. Applications to engineering schools are down, while applications to law schools are up.

GEORGE HARPOLE

San Pedro

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