I don't know if the topic is necessarily the 'best' major, but in terms of profitability, I think the above list is fairly accurate.
In the class of 2008 at my school, Chem Engg topped the highest starting salary (around 65K) with Electrical (62K) and Mechanical(59K) following them. Ater that, it was Mathematics and Economics (55K) joint majors.
But the average starting salary is very misleading as commando pointed out. I have seen American
Chem Enggs majors get 92K offers from Exxon mobil while
Chem Engg international students
taking 45K jobs.
If you aren't a permanent resident or a citizen, chances are you will earn significantly less than these averages. I was reading recently that the average salary of H1-B holders is significantly less than their American peers.
Having said that, I would still advocate engineering major as a very good choice in terms of the future, if you are interested in science and maths. The basic fact being engineering provides skills in problem solving, something that is very critical in a career. Also, engineering majors are forced to learn new tools every day, from design softwares to programming to getting your hands into other disciplines.
To contrast that, you can still major in Math and learn nothing more than to prove theorems that were developed a century ago. Same thing with economics, art, literature, etc. That is not to criticize these majors but to point out that the passing down of knowledge is very gradual in non technical fields.
On a recent interview after the financial crisis, the former chairman of the Fed Reserve made the following comment:
"It seems to me what our nation needs is more civil engineers and electrical engineers and fewer financial engineers,"http://www.bloggingstocks.com/2008/10/24/volcker-u-s-needs-more-civil-engineers-and-fewer-financial-eng/
Obama also made similar comments at Gerogetown University while talking about his economic recovery plan. The administration realizes the impact of technology on the economy and that is why engineering and science jobs are here to stay.