Assuming that pretty much the chips have by now fallen into place, let us take a look at the Condensed Matter Physics, Atomic Physics and Biophysics Jobs Rumor Mill (CMJRM), and see whether something useful or interesting can be learned about physics (and possibly science) hiring in academia in North America. In particular, it might be interesting to compare this year’s outcome with that of last year, to see whether a possible pattern, or trend, may appear.
I rely on the CMJRM as my source mostly because I am not aware of any alternate site providing the same information. Over the few years of its existence, the CMJRM has come to enjoy a reputation for remarkable accuracy, although there are reasons to suspect that this year it may not be as reliable as it usually is . Still, it seems safe to regard it as reasonably on target, especially if one is interested in the “big picture” only.
As of July 2, namely the date of its last update, 107 institutions in North America (US and Canada, research universities as well as four-year colleges), are listed therein as having advertised openings in Condensed Matter, AMO (Atomic, Molecular and Optical) Physics and Biophysics, in both theory and experiment. The total number of available positions is very nearly the same as that of advertising institutions, even though in some cases “multiple positions” were allegedly offered, and indeed in some cases more than one person was hired.
At eight institutions, the search appears to have been aborted at a very early stage, presumably due to its cancellation by the university administration (quite likely due to financial problems). Given the uncertainty in the total number, we may make our life easier and just take 100 as an estimate of the total number of positions.
Altogether, 68 job offers that were extended (counting all offers, i.e., also those made to senior candidates and those following the declination of the offer by the first choice candidate)
35 (51.5%) are listed as accepted
18 (26.5%) are listed as declined
15 (22%) are apparently still standing
13 offers (19.1%) were made to female scientists 
20 offers were made to a group of 9 persons
51 institutions are listed without any information on offers being made (that is, besides the above-mentioned ones which cancelled the search early on)
For a ballpark estimate of the number of accepted offers, let us tentatively assume the following:
1) No offers have been made at those places where no candidate is listed
2) Standing offers will be accepted at a 50% rate
That puts the fraction of positions for which searches were carried out and which were eventually filled, at around 40%. I believe, based on my experience and observation over the past decade, that this figure is realistic. Even with the obvious uncertainty associated to the two assumptions listed above, as well as with the inherent uncertainty of any information based on rumors, I doubt very much if the fraction of advertised positions that have been filled is above 50%. This is in line with what appears to have happened last year as well, and it is my belief, corroborated by countless conversations with colleagues (both junior and senior) that over the past decade the most likely outcome of a search in condensed matter physics at the tenure-track level has been a null one.
Moreover, I have no reason to believe that condensed matter, AMO and biophysics are “special” in any respect, and expect the same to be occurring in other areas of physics, and possibly in other areas of academic science .
To me, this immediately begs the same question which I asked last year: why do so many positions remain unfilled ? This is downright mind-boggling, given all the claims about “oversupply of scientists”, “PhD glut”, “lack of academic jobs” etcetera that some in blogosphere repeatedly, relentlessly insist with making, often advocating a reduction of graduate enrollment. In fact, to many of them such a “glut” is so obvious that they do not even feel the need to substantiate it with actual data.
If so many bright, talented PhD scientists graduate each year from American universities, why is it that the same universities who educate them would prefer not to hire them, even when they do have positions to fill ?
These are the only explanations of which I can think:
Personally, I find this very hard to believe. I know dozens of talented young physicists currently in postdoctoral positions who regard the academic career as a very desirable outcome. Many of them would seem to me to be perfectly suitable candidates for many of the positions that went unfilled. Granted, many of them may not have wanted those particular positions, but still, that not even one of them would have applied seems hard to believe. Most of these people are fully aware of the realities of the physics academic job market, and are not going to spit at a faculty appointment, even at a second-tier institution.
I have to admit that this seems implausible too. Do physics departments across North America really grant PhD degrees to many, many students whose heart is not in research, who would be better served with just a MS degree but are instead encouraged to go for the PhD by ruthless and selfish faculty needing “cheap labor”, preoccupied with the advancement of their own career and research program more than with the welfare of their students ? Is there really a “glut” of PhDs out there whose real qualifications and expertise do not match what the official record says, and are unfit to be successful academic researchers ?
Or, is this just an urban legend, perpetuated by delusional and arrogant old faculty who think that none of the young applicants is as good as them, “good” being defined as “with the right pedigree” ? Is our discipline being slowly strangled by our own collective imbecility, by the notion that “we cannot settle for second best” even though our own department is not even ranked top 50 ?
If anyone can explain this to me, I would really appreciate it.
 It went for two months without being updated (from early May until early July). Rumors were not as abundant, possibly because the difficult financial situation affecting most physics departments has led to the eventual cancellation of some of the openings advertised early on in Fall.
For the most part we are talking entry-level tenure-track assistant professorships. I am making no distinction here between those and possible offers that may have been made to senior scientists.
 This number has been arrived at simply by trying to identify female names in the list. Because I am unable to do that accurately with oriental names, it is possible that I may be slightly underestimating.
 Last year I tried to assess what fraction of candidates to whom an offer was extended, who obtained their doctoral degrees outside the United States, and found it to be very large (almost one third). I am not repeating this time-consuming exercise this year, but have no reason to believe that last year outcome was in any way unusual.