Massachusetts' "New Economy" Ranks First in Nation

Dec 20, 2012

Massachusetts has once again been recognized as the number one state in the US for its “New Economy.” WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

In a recent report, the 2012 State New Economy Index, produced by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Bay State has been ranked first in the nation for innovation and high-tech job growth.

Robert Atkinson, president of the ITIF and co-author of the index, explains that the rankings are determined by a series of indicators, spread across several different categories…

Also joining Massachusetts in the top five include Delaware, Washington, California, and Maryland. Atkinson said that Massachusetts has continued to top the list since 1999 in part due to the historic presence of its defense industry, venture capital, and also its private and public universities.

But it was also indicated in the report only six states in the nation have regained their pre-recession unemployment levels. And 17 states remain more than 5% above their pre-recession unemployment rates.

Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has also recently released their preliminary November 2012 workforce estimates. Last month, the state lost 1,100 jobs. The unemployment rate remains at 6.6%. However, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne Goldstein, says the weak performance in November comes only after a much larger gain in October.

And a good portion of those jobs added, were in fields that would be considered part of the “innovation economy”.

Secretary Goldstein also added that the distribution of the growing high-tech industry is largely spread throughout the state.

However, the state does face some challenges. According to studies from the state government and the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, areas including the Berkshires and Cape Cod are facing an aging workforce – and in many cases, not enough highly-skilled, younger workers to take their place.

In the top 20, the ITIF’s New Economy Index also ranked New York State at 11th and Vermont at 15th.

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