U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Occupational Employment Statistics
STEM occupations are technical jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Although many possible definitions exist, the STEM group is defined here to include computer and
mathematical, architecture and engineering, and life and physical
science occupations, as well as managerial and postsecondary
teaching occupations related to these functional areas, and sales
occupations requiring scientific or technical knowledge at the
postsecondary level. For more information on STEM occupations,
see Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations: a visual essay in the May 2011 issue of Monthly
Labor Review, available online at www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2011/05/
Most of the largest STEM occupations were related to computers.
- Eight of the 10 largest STEM
occupations were related to
computers and information
technology, including computer support specialists, applications software developers, and computer
- Each of the 10 largest STEM
occupations had employment of
between 200,000 and 600,000. By
comparison, the largest occupation
overall, retail salespersons, had employment of nearly 4.2 million
more than the 10 largest STEM
- At the other end of the spectrum,
the smallest STEM occupations
included astronomers, with
employment of 1,840; animal
scientists (2,440); and agricultural
- STEM occupations were typically
high paying. All of the 10 largest
STEM occupations had annual mean wages above the U.S. all-occupations mean of $44,410. The
largest STEM occupation shown,
computer support specialists, was
also the lowest paying, with an
annual mean wage of $49,930.
Nearly half of the 15,280 biomedical engineers in the United States were
employed in three manufacturing industries.
- Twenty-five percent of employment was in medical equipment and supplies manufacturing, and an additional 15 percent was in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing.
- The average wage for biomedical engineers in May 2010 was $84,780.
- Out of the six major industries that employed biomedical engineers, two of the industriesscientific research and development services and navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturinghad above-average wages for the occupation, while the remaining four had below-average wages.
Nearly two out of every five medical scientists were employed in scientific research and
- Medical scientists, except epidemiologists, was the largest
occupation in scientific research
and development services, making
up about 6 percent of industry
employment. In contrast, this
occupation made up less than 0.1
percent of overall employment. Thirty-seven percent of medical
scientists were employed in the scientific research and development
- Other large STEM occupations in this industry included a mix of computer-related occupations, such as software developers; engineering occupations, such as mechanical engineers; and life and physical science occupations, such as chemists and biological technicians.
- The average wage in scientific
research and development services
was $81,350, reflecting both the
high concentration of high-paying occupations in this industry and
above-average wages for specific
occupations. This industry had higher-than-average wages for each
of the individual occupations in the
chart, including those that were not
STEM occupations were among the largest occupations in communications
- The largest STEM occupations
in communications equipment
manufacturing were related to electronics or information
technology and included such occupations as systems software
developers and electrical engineers.
The largest occupations in this
industry also included general and operations managers and several
- The six STEM occupations
shown in figure 10 made up
about 21 percent of employment
in communications equipment
manufacturing. However, because
of its low overall employment,
manufacturing accounted for a
relatively low share of jobs in these
occupations. For example, only
1.4 percent of systems software
developers were employed in this
- Although wages among the
largest individual occupations
varied widely, communications
equipment manufacturing was a high-paying industry overall, with an annual mean wage of $68,900
across all occupations.
The highest paying life and physical science occupations had mean wages
more than double the U.S. average.
- Twenty-five out of 30 life and
physical science occupations had mean wages significantly above the
U.S. all-occupations average.
- The highest paying life and
physical science occupations
included physicists, with an
annual mean wage of $112,020;
geoscientists ($93,380); and
astronomers ($93,340). These
occupations typically required
postsecondary education ranging
from a bachelors degree to a
- Technician occupations tended to be lower paying. The lowest
paying life and physical science
occupations included chemical technicians, biological technicians, forest and conservation technicians,
and agricultural and food science
technicians, all of which had mean wages similar to or below the U.S.
Only one architecture and engineering occupation had below-average wages.
- Surveying and mapping
technicians was the only
architecture and engineering occupation with a mean wage
below the U.S. all-occupations
average. More than half of
architecture and engineering occupations had annual mean wages of $75,000 or more.
- The highest paying architecture and engineering occupations
included petroleum engineers, computer hardware engineers, and
nuclear engineers, all with annual mean wages of over $100,000. A
bachelors degree was the most
common level of education for
- In addition to surveying and
mapping technicians, the lowest paying architecture and engineering occupations included several
drafter and technician occupations,
such as environmental engineering technicians, civil engineering technicians, and architecture and civil drafters. Workers in
these occupations typically had a
postsecondary vocational award or
an associates degree.
The employment share of biochemists and biophysicists in Durham, NC, was nearly 10 times the U.S. average.
- Biochemists and biophysicists had a location quotient of 9 in
Framingham, MA, and nearly 10 in Durham, NC. Location
quotients represent the ratio of
an occupations share of area
employment relative to its share
of national employment; a location
quotient greater than one indicates
that the occupation makes up
an above-average share of local
- Even in areas with high
location quotients, this occupation
made up a relatively small share
of employment. For example,
biochemists and biophysicists made up about 1.7 jobs per 1,000 in
Durham, compared with about 0.2
jobs per 1,000 in the United States
as a whole.
- The U.S. mean wage for
biochemists and biophysicists was $86,580 per year. Among the areas
shown, wages ranged from $83,300
in San Francisco-San Mateo-
Redwood County, CA, to $110,090
in Durham, NC.
Three of the areas with the highest concentrations of mechanical engineers
were in Michigan.
- The Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI, metropolitan division
had both the largest number of
mechanical engineering jobs
14,680and the highest location
quotient for this occupation.
- High concentrations of
mechanical engineers did not
necessarily translate into high
employment for this occupation.
Excluding Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, employment of mechanical engineers in the areas shown
ranged from 740 in Niles-Benton
Harbor, MI, to 2,050 in Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC. In comparison,
the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA, metropolitan division
had 5,770 mechanical engineering jobs, although the location quotient
for this occupation was below 1 in
- Of the six areas shown in figure
14, only Warren-Troy-Farmington
Hills, MI, and Huntsville, AL,
had above-average wages for
mechanical engineers. Wages in
the remaining areas were below or
similar to the U.S. annual mean of
$82,480 for this occupation.
Framingham, MA, had one of the highest concentrations of STEM occupations in May 2010.
- All of the occupations in figure
15, with the exception of biological
technicians, had higher wages in
Framingham than in the United States as a whole.
- There were 1.6 biochemists and biophysicists per 1,000 jobs
in Framingham compared with 0.2 per 1,000 jobs in the nation.
Only Durham, NC, had a higher
concentration of biochemists and
biophysicists at 1.7 per 1,000 jobs.
- Four of the occupations with the highest location quotients in Framingham were from the life, physical, and social science occupational group, which had an overall location quotient of 2.3. However, the computer and mathematical occupational group had a higher location quotient at 3.0.
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Last Modified Date: October 24, 2011