Last month we looked at tech salaries vs the cost of living across the USA. This month, we want to explore the demand side of this issue. It's one thing to be paid great money doing a job, but if those jobs are far and few between the likelihood of landing that job is very low.

Tech jobs in each state

California, Texas, New York, Virginia, and Illinois consistently advertise more tech jobs than any other state. These states post around 150,000 tech jobs each month, with California sitting far ahead at 350,000. As we would expect, there is a linear relationship between the number of jobs advertised in each state and its population. Higher populated states have more jobs available than lower populated states.

Even so, there are some places which perform better than this trend, whilst many others are below. Of course, this is per actual person, regardless of their age and ability to work in the sector. We assume the percentage of people "able to work" is the same in each state. This proxy is a reasonable way to assess competition for jobs and compare them across states.

So how does it look? ...

Tech jobs per person in the USA

States with the lowest competition for jobs:

There are some clear outliers where you have 10 or more jobs available per 1,000 people. Most of these states have populations slightly above the median for the USA (4.5 million) except for California which is the most populous state in the USA.

The results here are not at all surprising. We all know about the "silicon valley" in California, but non-USA locals may not realise the high tech industries in some of these other states. Virginia for example has the country's highest concentration of technology workers. It also hosts 70% of the America's data centres. Maryland has some of the country's largest defense industry and bio-research laboratories. Many large federal facilities are based in Colorado with aerospace facilities providing large economic benefit to the state. It also a strong scientific and technical research industry.

Area No. of jobs posted monthly Population Jobs per 1,000 people
Virginia 140,131 8.3 m 16.8
Maryland 88,157 5.9 m 14.7
Massachusetts 90,440 6.7 m 13.4
Washington 84,087 7.0 m 11.9
Colorado 55,030 5.3 m 10.3
California 356,412 38.8 m 9.2

Most competitive states:

There are places where the number of jobs per person is quite low and therefore more highly competitive. Of these, Mississippi (0.8) and Louisiana (1.2) fall far below what we would expect for states of their population. In contrast, Iowa and South Carolina have 3.1 and 3.3 jobs per thousand people although have a similar population to Mississippi and Louisiana respectively.

This isn't surprising. Mississippi has the lowest per capita income in the country, with an industry focused around agriculture. Louisiana is similar with a very low per capita income and very few high tech industries.

Area No. of jobs posted monthly Population Jobs per 1,000 people
Wyoming 464 0.58 m 0.8
Mississippi 2,523 2.9 m 0.8
Montana 1,050 1.0 m 1.0
Louisiana 5,624 4.6 m 1.2
Arkansas 4,634 2.9 m 1.6
Idaho 2,711 1.6 m 1.6
West Virginia 3,210 1.8 m 1.7

What about the "popular" places?

There are no states of a similar size to California so it's difficult to compare, Looking at a best fit line however, California is performing well with 9.2 tech jobs per 1,000 people. New York is right where we would predict with 7.5 jobs per 1,000 people. Texas however, a large state with a population of 26.9 million isn't doing as well with only 5.7 jobs per thousand.

How does this relate to the cost of living?

Combining our previous study on net income through the states with this one, we can get a good feel for which states have more opportunities and pay the best.

Here are the top 10 states:

Area Avg. tech salary Net monthly income (income - cost of living) Jobs per 1,000 people Rank
Virginia $91,232 $3,146 16.8 1
Washington $94,930 $2,952 11.9 2
Illinois $89,720 $3,009 8.2 3
Michigan $86,020 $3,077 4.5 4
Texas $88,542 $3,042 5.7 5
Maryland $89,286 $2,279 14.7 6
California $98,207 $2,785 9.2 7
Kansas $86,040 $3,042 4.1 8
Delaware $88,624 $2,798 8.3 9
Georgia $89,872 $2,829 8.1 10

What next?

You would never relocate to a state just because of a few salary and job statistics, however this analysis can serve as a good starting point.

We're interested in hearing from locals and their own experiences of the technology job market. If you want to share, feel free to comment or email us on hi@gooroo.io