Charlotte, Austin, Denver See Strongest STEM Job Creation

Charlotte, Austin and Denver have the fastest-growing number of science, technology, engineering and math jobs, which analysts expect will see renewed importance in the post-COVID economy.

Seattle and Raleigh, N.C., round out the top five science, technology, engineering and math job-friendly cities in real estate advisory firm RCLCO’s latest STEM Job Growth Index. RCLCO, Bethesda, Md., publishes the index annually with office investment management firm CapRidge Partners, Austin. It tracks STEM job growth in the 38 largest U.S. metros.

“Quality of life, favorable cost of doing business and strong job markets–especially STEM jobs–are the leading indicators for healthy investment markets,” said RCLCO Senior Managing Director Adam Ducker. “Understanding where these jobs exist today and where they may concentrate tomorrow is essential to decision makers and real estate investors, as STEM jobs will likely play an even more significant role in economic growth in a post-COVID world.”

RCLCO expects regions with more STEM jobs will recover from the economic downturn much faster than regions with jobs concentrated in other industries.

STEM jobs pay $84,480 on average compared to $37,020 for non-STEM occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts STEM jobs will grow at a rate more than 75 percent higher than non-STEM job growth nationwide. 

COVID-19’s severe economic impact forced the United States into a recession, effectively ending the longest economic expansion the country had seen. RCLCO said jobs in the retail, restaurant, tourism and hospitality industries have been hit particularly hard. “However, STEM jobs, with their historically lower rates of unemployment and higher wages, may prove to be more resilient, as many STEM-related jobs are better-equipped to transition toward remote working environments,” the report said.

In addition to identifying where STEM jobs are today, the STEM Job Growth Index examines where they might go in the future based on changing local economies, migration of young households and other factors to help real estate investors and policymakers understand which geographic areas and job categories will play the largest role in economic growth in the coming decades, RCLCO said.

Atlanta, Orlando, San Francisco, Portland, Ore. and Phoenix round out the report’s top 10.