The U.S. States with the Top Tech Salaries in 2021
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The U.S. States with the Top Tech Salaries in 2021

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Average Tech Salary Across the US Best Paying States

The U.S. States with the Top Tech Salaries in 2021

In 2020, despite the economic turmoil caused by the global pandemic, America’s tech sector experienced rapid growth. Last year, the total number of U.S. tech jobs grew by 60,000.

Because of this demand, U.S. employers are willing to pay for the right talent—on average, tech workers in the U.S. earn about 61% more than the average salary. But some tech workers make more than others, depending on where they live.

This graphic by business.org uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to highlight the average annual tech salaries in each state, compared to the average salary of other occupations. We’ll also touch on the top-paying metro areas, and what type of tech jobs offer the highest compensation across the country.

Average U.S. Tech Salaries by State

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Washington and California have the highest average salaries, largely because of the high job density in those areas.

However, when it comes to the difference in tech salary versus average salary, Alabama takes the top spot—on average, tech jobs pay 85% more than other occupations in that state.

RankStateAverage hourly wage for tech workersAverage salary for tech workers% more that tech workers earn than all occupations
1Alabama$41.69$86,72085%
2Washington$58.96$122,64083%
3North Carolina$44.19$91,92080%
4Texas$45.04$93,69079%
5Virginia$51.50$107,13078%
6California$56.16$116,82078%
7Georgia$44.00$91,51076%
8Delaware$47.76$99,34075%
9Mississippi$34.48$71,72072%
10Ohio$41.48$86,27067%
11Idaho$37.65$78,32067%
12New Hampshire$45.50$94,65067%
13South Carolina$37.06$77,08067%
14Iowa$39.34$81,82066%
15Florida$39.81$82,81066%
16Maryland$50.55$105,15065%
17Colorado$48.33$100,52065%
18Arkansas$35.28$73,39064%
19Kentucky$36.21$75,33064%
20Missouri$39.44$82,04064%
21New Jersey$50.04$104,09063%
22Pennsylvania$42.29$87,97063%
23Arizona$41.84$87,03063%
24Oregon$44.25$92,04062%
25West Virginia$35.29$73,41062%
26Kansas$37.70$78,42061%
27Tennessee$36.86$76,66061%
28Utah$39.82$82,83061%
29Minnesota$45.47$94,57061%
30Indiana$37.66$78,34061%
31Nebraska$38.83$80,77061%
32Illinois$44.87$93,32061%
33Wisconsin$39.55$82,27061%
34Oklahoma$36.33$75,56060%
35New Mexico$38.06$79,16059%
36Louisiana$35.50$73,84059%
37Nevada$38.29$79,65058%
38Maine$38.48$80,03056%
39South Dakota$33.65$70,00056%
40Rhode Island$44.43$92,41053%
41Michigan$39.32$81,78053%
42New York$49.65$103,28052%
43Montana$34.40$71,54051%
44Massachusetts$50.67$105,40051%
45Vermont$38.55$80,18050%
46Connecticut$45.94$95,55046%
47Hawaii$40.32$83,87044%
48North Dakota$34.53$71,82037%
49Alaska$40.02$83,25035%
50Wyoming$32.52$67,64032%
51District of Columbia$54.78$113,93020%

Why are tech workers so generously compensated in Alabama? It could be because the area’s talent pool is not keeping up with demand.

In 2021, Huntsville, Alabama is expected to see 25,000 new jobs in aerospace, logistics, defense, and other tech-related industries. But these jobs could be difficult to fill given the area’s low unemployment rate.

On the other end of the spectrum, the District of Columbia has the smallest discrepancy between tech and other salaries. But at $95,330, the area has the highest average yearly salary for other occupations in the country—and tech workers still make 20% more.

Top 10 Metro Areas for Tech Salaries

Some of the highest-paying states are also home to the highest-paying metro areas.

For instance, when it comes to pay differences in tech, two of the top 10 metro areas are located in Washington state, while three are in California. The graphic below shows the metros with the highest difference between the area’s average salary and the average salary of tech jobs.

Top Tech Salaries

The highest pay difference between tech jobs vs the average salary is in San Jose, where tech workers make 507% more on average. This figure is almost certainly skewed because of the area’s high concentration of tech millionaires and top tier programmers.

Highest Paying Tech Jobs Nationally

Of course, location isn’t the only factor that plays into salary—the type of job is important, too. Here’s a look at U.S. tech salaries, organized by job type:

Highest Paying Tech Jobs US

In this analysis, which looked at jobs in computer science as well as mathematics, actuaries are the highest paid professionals on average.

While actuaries are more on the mathematical and financial side of the equation, more commonly associated jobs with tech are all over the list as well: software developers, computer network architects, information security analysts, data scientists, computer programmers, web developers, computer systems analysts, and so on.

The Future of Tech is Bright

America’s information technology sector, worth about $1.6 trillion, is expected to grow to $5 trillion by the end of 2021. And as this fast-growing industry continues to boom, jobs in this sector are likely to remain in high supply.

Augmented Reality (AR) in the U.S. is looking especially promising and is projected to grow by a CAGR of 100% between 2021-2025.

In short, tech is expected to keep growing. And salaries will likely follow suit.

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Markets

Visualizing China’s $18 Trillion Economy in One Chart

China’s economy reached a GDP of 114 trillion yuan ($18 trillion) in 2021, well above government targets. What sectors drove that growth?

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Visualizing China's Economy By Sector in 2021 Shareable

Visualizing China’s $18 Trillion Economy in 2021

China is the world’s second largest economy after the U.S., and it is expected to eventually climb into the number one position in the coming decades.

While China’s economy has had a much rockier start this year due to zero-tolerance COVID-19 lockdowns and supply chain issues, our visualization covers a full year of data for 2021⁠—a year in which most economies recovered after the initial chaos of the pandemic.

In 2021, China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached ¥114 trillion ($18 trillion in USD), according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The country’s economy outperformed government targets of 6% growth, with the overall economy growing by 8.1%.

Let’s take a look at what powers China’s modern economy.

Breaking Down China’s Economy By Sector

Sector2021 Total GDP
(Yuan)
2021 Total GDP
(USD)
% Share
Industry¥37.3T$5.9T32.6%
Wholesale and Retail Trades¥10.5T$1.7T9.2%
Finance¥9.1T$1.4T8.0%
Farming, Forestry, Animal Husbandry, and Fishery¥8.7T$1.4T7.6%
Construction¥8.0T$1.3T7.0%
Real Estate¥7.8T$1.2T6.9%
Transport, Storage, and Post¥4.7T$0.7T4.1%
Information Transmission, Software and IT Services¥4.4T$0.7T3.9%
Renting & Leasing Activities and Business Services¥3.5T$0.6T3.1%
Accommodation and Restaurants¥1.8T$0.3T1.6%
Others¥18.1T$2.8T15.9%
Total¥114T¥18T100.0%

Industrial production—activity in the manufacturing, mining, and utilities sectors—is by far the leading driver of China’s economy. In 2021, the sector generated ¥37.3 trillion, or one-third of the country’s total economic activity.

Despite a slowdown in December, wholesale and retail trades also performed strongly in 2021. As the main gauge of consumption, it was affected by lockdown measures and the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant towards the end of the year, but still rose by double digits, reaching a total of ¥10.5 trillion*.

“Other services”, which includes everything from scientific research and development to education and social services, generated 16% of China’s total economy in 2021, or ¥18.1 trillion.

*Editor’s note: At time of publishing, China’s government seems to have since adjusted this number to ¥11.0 trillion, which is not consistent with the original data set provided, but worth noting.

Where is China’s GDP Headed?

China’s economy recovered noticeably faster than most major economies last year, and as the overall trend below shows, the country has grown consistently in the years prior.

Visualizing China's GDP Growth

Before the pandemic hit, China’s quarterly GDP growth had been quite stable at just above 5%.

After the initial onset of COVID-19, the country’s economy faltered, mirroring economies around the globe. But after a strong recovery into 2021, resurging cases caused a new series of crackdowns on the private sector, slowing down GDP growth considerably.

With the slowdown continuing into early 2022, China’s economic horizon still looks uncertain. The lockdown in Shanghai is expected to continue all the way to June 1st, and over recent months there have been hundreds of ships stuck outside of Shanghai’s port as a part of ongoing supply chain challenges.

China’s Zero-COVID Policy: Good or Bad for the Economy?

While every country reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic differently, China adopted a zero-COVID policy of strict lockdowns to control cases and outbreaks.

For most of 2021, the policy didn’t deter GDP growth. Despite some major cities fully or partially locked down to control regional outbreaks, the country’s economy still paced well ahead of many other major economies.

But the policy faced a challenge with the emergence of the Omicron variant. Despite lockdowns and an 88% vaccination rate nationally, seven out of China’s 31 provinces and all of the biggest cities have reported Omicron cases.

And China’s zero-COVID policy has not affected all sectors equally. Industrial production rose by more than 10% in the first 11 months of 2021, despite city lockdowns around the country. That’s because many factories in China are in suburban industrial parks outside the cities, and employees often live nearby.

But many sectors like hotels and restaurants have been more severely affected by city lockdowns. Many global economies are starting to transition to living with COVID, with China remaining as one of the last countries to follow a zero-COVID policy. Does that ensure the country’s economy will continue to slow in 2022, or will China manage to recover and maintain one of the world’s fastest growing economies?

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Energy

Visualizing U.S. Crude Oil and Petroleum Product Imports in 2021

This visualization breaks down U.S. oil imports by country for 2021, showing the split by OPEC and non-OPEC nations.

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U.S. Petroleum Product and Crude Oil Imports in 2021: Visualized

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

Energy independence is top of mind for many nations as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted sanctions and bans against Russian coal and crude oil imports.

Despite being the world’s largest oil producer, in 2021 the U.S. still imported more than 3 billion barrels of crude oil and petroleum products, equal to 43% of the country’s consumption.

This visualization uses data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to compare U.S. crude oil and refined product imports with domestic crude oil production, and breaks down which countries the U.S. imported its oil from in 2021.

U.S. Crude Oil Imports, by Country

The U.S. imports more than 8 million barrels of petroleum products a day from other nations, making it the world’s second-largest importer of crude oil behind China.

America’s northern neighbor, Canada, is the largest source of petroleum imports at 1.58 billion barrels in 2021. These made up more than 51% of U.S. petroleum imports, and when counting only crude oil imports, Canada’s share rises to 62%.

RankCountryU.S. Oil Imports (2021, in barrels)Share
#1🇨🇦 Canada1,584 million51.3%
#2🇲🇽 Mexico259 million8.4%
#3🇷🇺 Russia254 million7.9%
#4🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia156 million5.1%
#5🇨🇴 Colombia74 million2.4%
#6🇪🇨 Ecuador61 million2.0%
#7🇮🇶 Iraq57 million1.9%
#8🇧🇷 Brazil52 million1.7%
#9🇰🇷 South Korea48 million1.6%
#10🇳🇱 Netherlands46 million1.5%
#11🇳🇬 Nigeria45 million1.5%
Other countries459 million14.7%
Total3,091 million100.0%

The second-largest contributor to U.S. petroleum imports was another neighbor, Mexico, with 259 million barrels imported in 2021—making up a bit more than 8% of U.S. petroleum imports.

Russia was the third-largest exporter of crude oil and petroleum products to the U.S. in 2021, with their 254 million barrels accounting for almost 8% of total imports.

U.S. Crude Oil and Petroleum Imports from OPEC and OPEC+

Only about 11% of U.S. crude oil and petroleum product imports come from OPEC nations, with another 16.3% coming from OPEC+ members.

While imports from OPEC and OPEC+ members make up more than a quarter of America’s total petroleum imports, this share is fairly small when considering OPEC members currently control nearly 80% of the world’s oil reserves.

Which Countries are Part of OPEC and OPEC-Plus?

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a group of 13 petroleum producing nations that formed in 1960 to provide steady prices and supply distribution of crude oil and petroleum products.

In 2016, OPEC-plus was formed with additional oil-exporting nations in order to better control global oil supply and markets in response to a deluge of U.S. shale supply hitting the markets at that time.

OPEC members:

  • 🇮🇷 Iran*
  • 🇮🇶 Iraq*
  • 🇰🇼 Kuwait*
  • 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia*
  • 🇻🇪 Venezuela*
  • 🇩🇿 Algeria
  • 🇦🇴 Angola
  • 🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea
  • 🇬🇦 Gabon
  • 🇱🇾 Libya
  • 🇳🇬 Nigeria
  • 🇨🇩 Republic of the Congo
  • 🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates

* Founding members

OPEC+ members:

  • 🇷🇺 Russia
  • 🇲🇽 Mexico
  • 🇰🇿 Kazakhstan
  • 🇲🇾 Malaysia
  • 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan
  • 🇧🇭 Bahrain
  • 🇧🇳 Brunei
  • 🇴🇲 Oman
  • 🇸🇩 Sudan
  • 🇸🇸 South Sudan

Although OPEC and OPEC+ members supply a significant part of U.S. crude oil and petroleum imports, America has avoided overdependence on the group by instead building strong ties with neighboring exporters Canada and Mexico.

Crude Oil Imports Capitalize on U.S. Refineries

While the U.S. has been a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products the past two years, exporting 3.15 billion barrels while importing 3.09 billion barrels in 2021, crude oil-only trade tells a different story.

In terms of just crude oil trade, the U.S. was a significant net importer, with 2.23 billion barrels of crude oil imports and only 1.08 billion barrels of crude oil exports. But with the U.S. being the world’s largest crude oil producer, why is this?

As noted earlier, neighboring Canada makes up larger shares of U.S. crude oil imports compared to crude oil and petroleum product imports. Similarly, Mexico reaches 10% of America’s crude oil imports when excluding petroleum products.

Maximizing imports from neighboring countries makes sense on multiple fronts for all parties due to lower transportation costs and risks, and it’s no surprise Canada and Mexico are providing large shares of just crude oil as well. With such a large collection of oil refineries across the border, it’s ultimately more cost-efficient for Canada and Mexico to tap into U.S. oil refining rather than refining domestically.

In turn, Mexico is the largest importer of U.S. produced gasoline and diesel fuel, and Canada is the third-largest importer of American-produced refined petroleum products.

Replacing Russian Crude Oil Imports

While Russia only makes up 8% of American petroleum product imports, their 254 million barrels will need to be replaced as both countries ceased trading soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In an effort to curb rising oil and gasoline prices, in March President Joe Biden announced the release of up to 180 million barrels from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves. Other IEA nations are also releasing emergency oil reserves in an attempt to curb rising prices at the pump and volatility in the oil market.

While the U.S. and the rest of the world are still managing the short-term solutions to this oil supply gap, the long-term solution is complex and has various moving parts. From ramping up domestic oil production to replacing oil demand with other cleaner energy solutions, oil trade and imports will remain a vital part of America’s energy supply.

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