I finally had a chance to look at one of the recent survey results published by the AIP. This is a survey of the physics faculty at US educational institutions done in 2008. It covers institutions having Bachelor, Masters, or Ph.D in physics degrees as the highest granting degree.
The most obvious conclusion here is how stagnant the number of faculty member has been since 1998. In fact, if one look at Fig. 1, since 2004, the number has remained relatively the same across all three types of institutions. One sees this conclusion both in the total number of physics faculty members, and in the average number per institution.
What does this mean, boys and girls? It means that if you want to do physics AND then get a job in a university as a physics faculty, someone must either leave first, or retire, before there is an opening for you to take. It also means that if you are majoring in a field of physics that isn't that employable outside of academia, you will have a tough competition in trying to get the job that you want.
Of course, this trend doesn't take into account the influx of money from this year's stimulus bill and whether that created additional jobs that was never available. Still, this is only a temporary infusion, and it is still uncertain whether any physics jobs created out of such funds will actually last.