States the Focal Point for Job Creation

Another week, another look at the US and how individual states line up when it comes to promoting entrepreneurial growth. Last week, we highlighted the State New Economy Index from ITIF that showed Massachusetts on top of the list of states that adapt to continual economic evolution. The week before that, the latest Small Business Friendliness survey from and the Kauffman Foundation handed out A+ grades to Utah, Idaho and Texas

This week? It’s North Dakota's turn to shine. 

The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s latest in the Enterprising States series explores state-level data across 33 metrics that measure overall economic performance, along with performance in five policy areas for job growth and economic health. North Dakota tops the list for overall economic performance based on a booming oil industry and blue collar job growth — but it also scores points for a high percentage of educated young talent, a top 10 business climate and adding more STEM jobs faster than any other state in the country. 

The report emphasizes the differences between states — and the increasing gap “between the skills companies need to drive growth and innovation versus the skills that actually exist within their organizations and in the labor market.” The authors identify a collection of state-driven strategies to promote job creation in five key policy areas:

  • Talent Pipeline
  • Exports and International Trade
  • Technology and Entrepreneurship
  • Business Climate
  • Infrastructure

Within the "Technology & Entrepreneurship" category, the report mentions several approaches that are being used by states to address their unique challenges, including: 

  • Program resources focused on emerging growth companies with the most job creation potential
  • “Ecosystem” initiatives and innovation hubs that foster university-business-government networking and collaboration
  • Technology transfer policies that facilitate the use of university R&D by the private sector 
  • Business plan competitions to stimulate new ventures 
  • Investment funding, including angel tax credits, for startups and business expansions 

Other recommendations and rankings are available through a state-level interactive map or a download of the full report.

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