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Oakland University SBA Data Center

STEM Occupation Location Quotients
STEM occupations are in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. They are high-quality, knowledge-intensive jobs that improve the economy and standard of living by leading to discovery and new technology (Landivar, 2013). Over the next decade, STEM occupations are expected to grow faster than other occupations and offer a higher median annual income than non-STEM occupations (Vilorio, 2014). For example, in 2014 the Architectural and Engineering STEM occupations had a mean annual income that was almost double the mean annual income of all occupations (National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, 2014).

Concentration of STEM employment is determined by a location quotient that measures the concentration of an occupation in one area, relative to the concentration in a reference area. The location quotient data here was calculated using the United States as the reference area. If a location quotient for an occupation within a city is greater than one, the city has a higher concentration of that occupation than the United States. Similarly, if a location quotient for an occupation within a city is less than one, the city has a lower concentration of that occupation than the United States. The STEM location quotients in the charts below illustrate how Metro Detroit compares to other cities and to the United States as a whole.

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Due to the strong presence of the automotive industry, Detroit's concentration of Architectural and Engineering-related positions (as indicated by location quotients well above 2.0) is significantly higher than both the U.S. as a whole and the other ten cities listed here. This situation can also be found in Logistician positions, another consequence of the city's reliance upon the automotive industry. In other areas, such as Healthcare and Computer and Mathematical Occupations, Detroit is relatively on par with the nation, with location quotients of 1.04 and 1.14, respectively. Metro Detroit falls drastically short of cities like Seattle and Boston in Computer and Mathematics fields, with respective location quotients of 2.32 and 1.73, compared with 1.14 for Metro Detroit. The location quotients related to Natural Sciences Managers and Life, Physical, and Social Science occupations (0.22 and 0.5, respectively) indicate Detroit is far below the national standard and the worst of the ten cities regarding its concentration of science-related occupations. As scientific discovery is key to advancement in other STEM occupations, this is an area of concern.

Detroit has an incredibly strong Architectural and Engineering base, which is counterbalanced by its weaknesses in the scientific fields. If Detroit can encourage growth beyond its current STEM generation in Engineering and Logistics, it may see substantial economic benefit.

Laura Tack, Research Assistant
Jonathan Silberman,PhD

Landivar, L. C. (2013). Disparities in STEM Employment by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin (ACS-24). Retrieved July 30, 2015, from http://beta.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2013/acs/acs-24.pdf

May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. (2014). Retrieved July 23, 2015, from http://www.bls.gov/oes/2014/may/oes_nat.htm

Vilorio, D. (2014). STEM 101: Intro to tomorrow's jobs. Retrieved July 23, 2015, from http://www.stemedcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/BLS-STEM-Jobs-report-spring-2014.pdf

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