Small cities have outsized tech job markets

(Bloomberg) -- Forget about San Jose. Small, off-the-radar areas offer tech opportunities.

Although salaries in the tech field are generally higher in larger metropolitan areas, a select group of less-populated cities can be considered hidden gems.

Using occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bloomberg identified 30 smaller metro areas where both salaries and headcounts in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics increased at least twice as fast compared with the entire nation in 2018.

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The Dow Chemical Co. logo is displayed on an office building in Midland, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co., two historic giants of American industry, are considering a merger that would ultimately dismantle both along lines proposed by activist investors over the past two years. Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg

Median pay for STEM jobs increased 2.1% in 2018 to $84,880 from a year earlier, while total employment in the sector swelled to 9.09 million, up 2.3% from 2017.

The Dover, New Hampshire-Durham, Maine, metro area, where tech workers typically earned $93,090 last year, topped the list. Total employment in the field within that metro area increased 30% -- the biggest advance among the cohort -- to 4,850.

The metro areas of Danbury, Connecticut, Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Bend-Redmond, Oregon, are also among tech job locales with more than 4,000 positions.

Midland, Michigan, home to chemical giant Dow Inc. and a standout in Bloomberg’s earlier “upward mobility” gauge, saw tech pay rise at the fastest pace -- 29.7%. The metro areas of Victoria, Texas, and Redding, California, have seen annual gains of 16.8% and 12.1%, respectively.

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