A recent Brookings Institution study ranks Madison first among metro areas for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) grads. That’s great news for the city as well as the state of Wisconsin, since advanced industries represent a sizable anchor for the economy and have led the post-recession employment recovery. Even though it is somewhat modest in size, the nation’s “tech” sector plays a major role in the economy and includes industries ranging from automating and aerospace to energy industries such as oil and gas extraction to high-tech services such as computer software and computer system design, including for health applications.

According to the study, these industries are sure to be critical components to the revitalized U.S. economy, as they represent the country’s best shot at innovative, inclusive and sustainable growth. The report provides a wide-angle overview of the advanced industry sector that reviews its role in American prosperity, assesses key trends and maps its metropolitan and global competitive standing.

Critical job outcomes from the report include:

  • The tech sector employs 80 percent of the nation’s engineers, performs 90 percent of private-sector research and development, generates approximately 85 percent of all U.S. patents and accounts for 60 percent of U.S. exports.
  • Advanced industries also support unusually extensive supply chains and other forms of ancillary economic activity. On a per-worker basis, advanced industries purchase $236,000 in goods and services from other businesses annually, compared with $67,000 in purchasing by other industries.
  • This spending sustains and creates more jobs. In fact, 2.2 jobs are created domestically for every new advanced industry job—0.8 locally and 1.4 outside of the region. This means that in addition to the 12.3 million workers employed by advanced industries, another 27.1 million U.S. workers owe their jobs to economic activity supported by advanced industries.
  • Directly and indirectly, then, the sector supports almost 39 million jobs—nearly one-quarter of all U.S. employment.

Leveraging technology, creative thinking and teamwork are key characteristics of graduates in today’s economy. STEM skills are vital to the long-term success of Wisconsin’s youth as well as the state’s innovation economy. We are pleased to see our commitment to this sector paying off. Read the full study.