National Economy

A recent report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee says that although the U.S. has previously led the world in innovations because it has produced top scientists and engineers, the growing need for STEM professionals is outpacing the supply of qualified individuals to maintain U.S. economic growth and competitiveness in the modern global economy:

…demand for STEM-capable workers has increased even in traditionally non-STEM fields due to the diffusion of technology across industries and occupations. 1

Surveys of manufacturers have found that a third are already experiencing shortages of STEM-qualified workers, which will only increase as current workers retire—opening opportunities for your STEM student.

STEM professionals earn higher average salaries than other workers. For example, STEM workers earned 26% more than non-STEM workers, “even after accounting for other factors that affect pay, such as age, gender, race, location, industry, and union status.”

A study by the Brookings Institution2 found that “Workers in STEM fields play a direct role in driving economic growth. Yet, because of how the STEM economy has been defined, policymakers have mainly focused on supporting workers with at least a bachelor’s (BA) degree, overlooking a strong potential workforce of those with less education but substantial STEM skills.”


1U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee, http://www.jec.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=6aaa7e1f-9586-47be-82e7-326f47658320 (PDF).

2Jonathan Rothwell, “The Hidden STEM Economy,” http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2013/06/10-stem-economy-rothwell .


The Bureau of Labor Statistics has information on how STEM professions play a major role in the U.S. national economy:

The U.S. Department of Commerce has a good summary of the role of STEM jobs in the economy: http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/stemfinalyjuly14_1.pdf.

  • STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17.0% from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8% growth for non-STEM occupations.
  • STEM workers command higher wages, earning 26% more than their non-STEM counterparts.
  • STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings, regardless of whether they work in STEM or non-STEM occupations


Source: U.S. Department of Commerce blog: The State of Our Union’s 21st Century Workforce
http://www.commerce.gov/blog/2012/02/06/state-our-union’s-21st-century-workforce


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