Educating people in science and engineering leads to growth in research and technology that, in turn, leads to jobs in manufacturing the devices that those people invent.
That pattern has spurred concern over results of a study from the National Science Foundation released Tuesday that showed trends in education, research and development, and manufacturing are flat or heading down in the United States but rising in China and eight other Asian countries.
Over the past decade, according to the report, the U.S. lost 28 percent (687,000) of its high-tech manufacturing jobs.
"While the U.S. remains a leader in high technology manufacturing, its lead is shrinking," said Jose-Marie Griffiths, chairman of the Science and Engineering Indicators Committee at the National Science Board, a policymaking group of the foundation.
China now leads the world in the number of bachelor's degrees in engineering granted.
While colleges and universities in the United States awarded 4 percent of the world's bachelor's degrees in engineering based on information from 2008 or the latest year available from each of the countries, China educated 34 percent with the European Union granting 17 percent and what the authors call the Asia-8 countries -- India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand -- minting another 17 percent of the graduates.