These potential job losses represent approximately three percent of the total life, physical and social science jobs in the United States.
The possible $56.7 billion cut to the the Department of Defense (DOD) budget may result in 14,982 lost science jobs out of a total 325,693 lost, or 4.6 percent of the total DOD jobs cut, according to Fuller's report. Reducing the budgets of other agencies, such as the U.S. Geological Survey, by $59 billion could result in 15,980 science jobs lost, or 3.8 percent of the 420,529 total non-DOD jobs destroyed.
Unfortunately, the loss of research and development jobs is only the tip of the unemployment iceberg the fiscal cliff could create if scientific progress loses funding.
"The 31,000 figure does not include the indirect job losses, such as subcontractors, suppliers and vendors, or the induced job impacts," Fuller told Discovery News. "Induced jobs are those supported by employee's spending on goods and services, so these are unlikely to be STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) type jobs but rather retail, consumer services, education and health, construction and those types of occupations.