Brookings: Las Vegas Near Bottom in Science, Tech Jobs

LAS VEGAS -- Among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, Las Vegas ranks second from the bottom in the percentage of its jobs that require knowledge in science, technology, engineering or math, according to a Brookings Institution report released Sunday night.

The Washington, D.C., think tank reported that only 12.8 percent of Las Vegas jobs, or 99,990 as of 2011, required such knowledge. Brookings referred to these as STEM jobs.

In a report titled "The Hidden STEM Economy," author and associate Brookings fellow Jonathan Rothwell stated that such jobs make up 20 percent of the nation's workforce. They also pay considerably more on average than non-STEM jobs.

The Brookings analysis found that in Las Vegas STEM jobs pay $71,759 annually on average versus $35,495 for non-STEM jobs. For jobs requiring at least a bachelor's degree, STEM jobs pay $86,533 compared to $58,028 for non-STEM work. For employment requiring no more than an associates' degree, STEM jobs average $59,238 versus $32,313 for non-STEM positions.

The top STEM occupations in Las Vegas are health diagnosis and treating practitioners (19,120 jobs), construction trades workers (13,200) and computer occupations (10,070).

"University attendance is not the only path to a STEM career," Rothwell said. "While highly educated STEM professionals are a vital part of the economy, many less educated and often blue collar STEM workers contribute to economic growth and innovation in a variety of ways."

The report stated as an example that installation, maintenance, and repair workers comprise 10 percent of all STEM jobs.

"Policymakers should recognize the contributions of all workers with a high level of STEM knowledge," Rothwell said. "With modest training, many laid off workers or those in low-paying jobs could embark on a more lucrative career path in a STEM field, while helping boost economic growth and competitiveness nationally and within regions."


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