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Report – The Importance of Data Occupations in the Economy

Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration Report – “The growing importance of data in the economy is hard to dispute. But what does this mean for workers and jobs? A lot, as it turns out: higher paying (over $40/hour), faster growing jobs. In this report we identify occupations where data analysis and processing are central to the work performed and measure the size of employment and earnings in these occupations, as well as in the industries that have the highest concentration of these data occupations. Key findings of the report include:
• Employment where data is central to the job was about 10.3 million in 2013 (or which 1.6 million were government workers) , or about 7.8 percent of all employment. However, including occupations where working with data is at least an important part of the job dramatically increases that number: to 74.3 million jobs, or over half of the workforce.
• Hourly wages for private-sector workers in data occupations, which are concentrated in the broad categories of business and computer/mathematical occupations, averaged $40.30 in 2013, about 68 percent higher for all occupations.
• For these top data occupations, two-thirds or more of the workers have at least a college degree; in comparison about one-third of workers across all occupations have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
• Private sector industries with the highest concentration of data occupations added 1.8 million jobs over the last decade, representing about 31 percent of total private job growth which was four times faster than in private industries overall .
• Data intensive industries are located in many states, but the highest concentrations are in Washington, D.C.; Virginia; Massachusetts; Maryland; and Connecticut.”
  • …measuring the importance of data and its effect on employment and the economy is not straightforward. There is no consensus as to what constitutes a “data job ” or a “data industry .” Indeed, even the term “data” is somewhat amorphous, used variously to mean discrete facts or, more generally, a body of information. There is even debate about whether the term itself is singular or plural. Despite these uncertainties, we define “data occupations” by focusing on jobs where the use of data is “very important” as identified by O*Net, a comprehensive system
    of job descriptions developed with the support of the U.S. Department of Labor. Using this definition, we also identify data-intensive industries and provide estimates of private – sector employment and earnings for these occupations and industries. Although the focus of the report is on employment in data occupations in the private sector, we also briefly discuss the importance of data occupations in the public sector.”

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