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Recognizing STEM occupations on STEM Day

November 08, 2021

November 8 is National STEM Day, a time to celebrate education and work conducted in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM occupations include a wide array of technical careers, such as chemists, computer programmers, aerospace engineers, and mathematicians.

Metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of STEM occupations, May 2020
Metropolitan area Location quotient Annual mean wage for STEM occupations Total STEM employment

California-Lexington Park, MD

3.9 $107,410 11,760

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

3.3 147,290 245,090

Boulder, CO

2.7 107,140 33,360

Huntsville, AL

2.6 102,620 40,880

Bloomington, IL

2.4 104,160 13,450

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

2.1 123,370 270,340

Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

2.0 102,350 42,450

Columbus, IN

1.9 87,930 6,020

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

1.9 116,250 381,800

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

1.9 131,900 294,230

Note: The location quotient is the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration. A location quotient greater than one indicates the occupation has a higher share of employment than average, and a location quotient less than one indicates the occupation is less prevalent in the area than average. STEM occupations include science, technology, engineering, and mathematics related occupations.

In May 2020, California-Lexington Park, Maryland, was the metropolitan area with the highest share of STEM employment, with STEM occupations making up 26.0 percent of total jobs in the metropolitan area, a concentration nearly four times the national average.

The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, metropolitan area in Silicon Valley was next, with STEM occupations constituting 22.2 percent of all jobs, a little over 3.3 times the national average.

Boulder, Colorado; Huntsville, Alabama; and Bloomington, Illinois, were also among the areas with the highest concentrations of STEM employment, each with over 16.0 percent of total employment in STEM occupations.

In addition to having one of the highest STEM concentrations, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, was the highest paying area for STEM occupations, with an annual mean wage of $147,290. The highest paying metropolitan areas for STEM occupations also included San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California ($131,900), and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington ($123,370).

STEM occupations had employment of 9.3 million in the United States in May 2020, representing 6.7 percent of total U.S. employment. Software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers, computer user support specialists, and computer systems analysts had the most employment among STEM occupations, accounting for 29.0 percent of total STEM employment.

STEM occupations had an annual mean wage of $98,340, well above the U.S. average of $56,310 for all occupations. Computer and information systems managers, architectural and engineering managers, natural sciences managers, and petroleum engineers, each with mean annual wages over $154,000, were the highest paying STEM occupations.

These data are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program. To learn more, see the STEM dataset for May 2020. The survey covers wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments and does not include the self-employed or owners, partners, and proprietors of unincorporated businesses. Also see the Periodic Table of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Occupations, part of the BLS K–12 Classroom Pages.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Recognizing STEM occupations on STEM Day at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/recognizing-stem-occupations-on-stem-day.htm (visited November 29, 2021).

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