STEM: A growth industry
The U.S. workplace has become increasingly technically oriented, populated by workers with advanced skills in science and technology. The proof is in the rising share of jobs classified as STEM—those in occupations that typically require college degrees in science, technology, engineering or math. Nationally, a broad swath of industries saw gains over the past decade in the share of employment in STEM, according to government labor statistics (see chart).
In professional and technical services—the industry with the highest concentration of STEM jobs—the STEM share grew about 5½ percentage points between 2003 and 2013. More computer programmers, engineers and other STEM workers were needed in burgeoning tech industries such as mobile communications, data analytics, and shale oil and gas development. (The proportion of jobs in STEM increased by more than half in mining, and oil and gas extraction.)
But the STEM employment share also rose in nontech industries, including finance and insurance, management, and transportation and warehousing. Only retail trade saw a decline in the proportion of STEM jobs. The growing importance of technology in the economy has led employers in an array of industries to value the contributions of STEM workers to innovation and productivity.
Labor statistics don’t track STEM job share by industry at the state level, but it’s likely that district states have followed national trends. For more detailed discussion of STEM education and employment in the district, see the April fedgazette.
Senior Writer Phil Davies contributed to this post.