September 26, 2012, 1:20 pm
Last week the Modern Language Association released its report on the 2011-12 Job Information List, the clearinghouse for full-time academic job advertisements in English and foreign languages. The annual report compares the number of job openings, their rank, and location with previous years’ job markets.
Hidden in the data is a big surprise. Compared with other national labor markets for highly educated professionals, the academic job market for English and foreign languages is doing quite well. If you are on the market this year, you have good reasons to be optimistic.
Heavy on data, light on interpretation, this year’s MLA report nevertheless paints an overly dour picture of the job market. The report uses the economic-bubble year of 2007-8 as the benchmark for comparisons. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of job openings in English plummeted by 39.8 percent. But everybody …