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Nearly 8.6 million US STEM jobs in 2015, BLS finds

January 26, 2017

Approximately 6.2 percent of U.S. workers (nearly 8.6 million people) were employed in STEM jobs in May 2015, according to STEM Occupations: Past, Present, And Future from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Of those nearly 8.6 million people, nearly half (45 percent) are employed in computer occupations. In addition, seven of the 10 largest STEM occupations were related to computers and information systems including the largest STEM occupation – applications software developers (750,000 people).  STEM occupations provide nearly double the wages of non-STEM occupations.

While these STEM occupations pay more, they also come with more educational requirements. BLS reports that nearly 93 percent of STEM occupations had wages above the $48,320 national average, with an average wage for all STEM occupations of $87,570. In comparison to other jobs, BLS finds that almost all STEM occupations require some level of post-secondary education (99 percent) while only 36 percent of non-STEM occupations require post-secondary education.

STEM jobs also had an above average growth rate of 10.5 percent (or 817,260 jobs) between May 2009 and May 2015. This was nearly double the growth rate (5.2 percent) for non-STEM occupations. 

This rapid growth is projected to continue well into the 2020s with BLS estimating that STEM occupations will grow by 12.5 percent from 2014 to 2024. By 2024, the STEM occupations with the largest projected growth include architectural, engineering, and related services industry (each is projected to grow by at least 8 percent).  The industry with the largest percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024 will be in computer systems design and related services (a nearly 40 percent positive change in employment). In comparison, BLS projects that the demand will decline by over 20 percent by 2024 due to the ongoing trend of outsourcing the work to firms located overseas to cut costs.

The report also provides graphics for STEM employment change/percent employment change at the state level from 2009 to 2014. In addition, it highlights metro regions where STEM occupations made up over one-fifth of employment.



stem, workforce