This analysis finds that the vast majority of American economic activity is attributable to STEM. The American STEM workforce is not only composed of Silicon Valley coders and Ph.D. scientists, but also includes STEM professionals working in occupations that do not require a bachelor’s degree. These licensed practical nurses, electricians, advanced manufacturing specialists, laboratory technicians, military communications systems managers and more make up the backbone of the STEM workforce. Across the board, regardless of educational attainment, U.S. STEM workers earn higher wages than their non-STEM peers and have a broad impact on the economy (Noonan, 2017).
In total, STEM supports two-thirds of U.S. jobs (67 percent), 69 percent of U.S. GDP and $2.3 trillion in annual federal tax revenue.
This analysis finds that one-third of U.S. workers are direct STEM professionals, accounting for 39 percent of U.S. GDP. And since this analysis takes an inclusive view of STEM — one that does not discriminate based on an individual worker’s educational attainment — it also finds that 59 percent of America’s STEM workforce does not hold a bachelor’s degree.
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