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updated 7/14/2011 12:49:41 PM ET 2011-07-14T16:49:41

Jobs in the science, technology, engineering and math fields pay about 26 percent more than other occupations and are expected to grow at a faster rate in the next decade, according to a report released today (July 14) by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The report found that STEM jobs have grown three times as fast as other fields over the past 10 years and that workers in those fields are less likely to experience joblessness moving forward.

In 2010, 7.6 million people, or 5.5 percent of the labor force, worked in these fields. The Obama administration aims to invest more in the education and training of these fields to help bolster innovation and foster greater competition on a global scale.

"[The] report profiles the fast-growing, productive STEM work force and illustrates how we can win the future by encouraging the pursuit of 21st century jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. "STEM jobs are essential to a competitive, innovative and technologically advanced U.S. economy."

The report also noted that people with degrees in the science, tech, engineering and math fields also enjoy higher earnings regardless of what occupation they choose.

In addition, more than two-thirds of people in the science, technology, engineering and math fields have at least a college degree, compared to less than one-third of employees in other fields.

Reach TechNewsDaily senior writer Samantha Murphy at smurphy@techmedianetwork.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Follow her on Twitter @SamMurphy_TMN

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