NerdWallet: Boulder rates No. 3 in best places for 2016 STEM graduates

Wednesday April 27, 2016 0 comments Tags: Boulder, STEM, NerdWallet, Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- College graduates entering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields in 2016 will find a robust job market – including Boulder -- and the potential for handsome paychecks, according to a study by NerdWallet.

Boulder placed No. 3 in the nation for “Best Places for STEM Grads in 2016," the study showed.Nerdwallet_logoUSE

According to the most recent data, the unemployment rate for STEM workers was 2.3% in June 2015, which compares with the 5.3% jobless rate nationwide among all industries in the same period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS estimates growth in STEM jobs will top 9 million over the decade from 2012 to 2022.

STEM employees are sought after and often earn more than workers in other industries. The average STEM salary was $85,570 in 2014, compared with $47,230 for all occupations, according to the BLS.

To identify the best places for STEM graduates, NerdWallet analyzed the nation’s 330 largest metro areas with a focus on salaries, concentration of STEM jobs and unemployment rate, as well as U.S. Census Bureau data on the cost of median monthly rent in each location.

The NerdWallet study found Huntsville, Ala. to be the best place for 2016 STEM grads.

Huntsville, near the state’s northern border, had the highest average STEM salary at $95,150 of the 330 cities analyzed.

According to the study, No. 3 Boulder is loaded with a variety of STEM companies in fields such as aerospace, bioscience, IT and software. The city is home to over 260 clean tech companies, which focus on environmentally friendly technology.

Boulder’s research institutions, including the University of Colorado-Boulder and federally funded labs, boost the city’s economy as well. Federal offices in Boulder include the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service and more than a dozen others.

In February 2016, Boulder had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the study’s 330-city analysis: 2.7%, compared with the 5.2% national average for the same month.

According to the NerdWallet study, the Top 10 metro areas for STEM grads in 2016 are:

  • Huntsville, Ala.
  • Silicon Valley
  • Boulder
  • Seattle
  • Durham/Chapel Hill
  • San Francisco
  • Kennewick/Richland, Wash.
  • Space Coast, Fla.
  • Trenton/Princeton
  • Austin

Also on the NerdWallet list from Colorado was Colorado Springs (No. 14), Denver (No. 15) and Fort Collins (No. 20).