RCLCO Real Estate Advisors, a leading national real estate advisory firm, announced today that the metro areas of Charlotte, Austin, Denver, Seattle and Raleigh have topped their 2020 STEM Job Growth Index (STEMdex), published annually in partnership with office investment management firm CapRidge Partners.  The STEMdex tracks STEM job growth momentum through an analysis of the 38 largest metropolitan areas in the country. Rather than simply identifying where STEM jobs are today, the STEMdex seeks to understand where they might be going in the future based on changing local economies, migration of young households and other key factors to help real estate investors, policymakers and local governments understand which geographic areas and job categories will play the largest role in economic growth in the coming decades. 

Some key changes noted regarding the 2020 listing include:

• Charlotte shoots to the top

Phoenix ranks No. 10

• Orlando and Portland are in the top 10 for the first time

• Indianapolis, Tampa and San Antonio appear on the list for the first time based on growth dynamics, cost and quality of living factors

• Dallas and Houston have moved down

The top 20 metropolitan areas in the 2020 edition of the STEMdex are as follows:

“Quality of life, favorable cost of doing business, and strong job markets – especially STEM jobs – are the leading indicators for healthy investment markets,” said Adam Ducker, Senior Managing Director of RCLCO. “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. We would expect to see regions with more STEM jobs recover from this recession much faster than regions whose jobs are more concentrated in effected industries.”

RCLCO partnered with CapRidge Partners in 2016 to create the STEMdex as a tool to identify which of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States are primed for growth in STEM-based industries.  The analysis focuses on metrics in four major areas RCLCO and CapRidge find to be paramount to the growth of STEM jobs: Population and Economic Growth, Workforce Quality, Quality of Life, and the Cost of Doing Business. In total, RCLCO identified and weighted 26 different indicators they believe best characterize the four major categories and can quantify their impact on the STEM job market.  

Long understood to be vital to a region’s economic growth, STEM jobs, which include a broad diversity of job types encompassing science, technology, engineering and math, pay an average of $84,480 compared to $37,020 for non-STEM occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts STEM jobs to grow at a rate of over 76% higher than non-STEM job growth nationwide.  

The severe economic impacts of COVID-19 have caused the United States to enter a recession, effectively ending the longest economic expansion the country has ever seen. Hit particularly hard have been jobs in the retail, restaurant, tourism and hospitality industries.  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. Additionally, some STEM jobs, particularly those related to public health, may even see a renewed importance as we enter a post-COVID economy.

Read the full report online at: https://www.rclco.com/publication/2020-stem-job-growth-index/