Massachusetts Tops List of 'New Economy' States

Since 1999, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has ranked U.S. states on their ability to adapt to steady economic evolution. The term 'new economy' may not carry as much meaning as it did when the State New Economy Index was created, but the list uses 25 indicators divided into five categories -- knowledge jobs, globalization, economic dynamism, digital economy and innovation capacity. As it has in each of the previous five editions of the Index (1999, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012), Massachusetts claims the top spot. 

Following Massachusetts at the top of the overall list were (in order): Delaware, California, Washington, Maryland, Colorado, Virginia, Connectict, Utah and New Jersey. The poorest performing states were: Louisiana (46th), Arkansas (47th), Oklahoma (48th), West Virginia (49th) and Mississippi (50th). 

The only indicators where Massachusetts fell outside the top half of states were immigration of knowledge workers (37th), job churning (38th) and entrepreneurial activity (31st). That, of course, begs the question of how the most entrepreneurial states fared on the latest Index. 

Of the top five most entrepreneurial states -- Vermont, Montana, Arizona, California and Alaska -- only California scored in the top 10 states overall. However, if you look only at fast-growing firms, the rankings track much more closely. According to the Inc. 500 and Technology Fast 500 lists, the top five states for fast-growing firms were (in order): Massachusetts, California, Virginia, Maryland and Utah. Each of those five states scored in the top 10 overall. 

The report suggests that policymakers explore strategies that incentivize the following: 

  • strong, high-growth startups,
  • strong global connections,
  • having a workforce and jobs based on higher skills,
  • strong capabilities in technological innovation, and
  • individuals embracing digital technologies
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