North Carolina ranks 20th in new innovation economics study

RALEIGH- North Carolina ranks 20th among all US states in a new ranking report, upping its ranking by one spot from the most recent study.

The 2021 Tracking Innovation Report is the eighth in a series of benchmarking reports first published in 2000. It was released this week by the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation.

But the state can do better. According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, “the state still needs to encourage more private sector research and development.”

North Carolina Secretary of State Machelle Baker Sanders said in a statement that the report confirms the state is a “magnet for innovative businesses and talent,” but also added that additional investment will be needed. to further stimulate innovation and lead to improved living standards. for residents across the state.

Earlier this year, WalletHub ranked North Carolina 19th for innovation.

NC is the 19th most innovative state, according to WalletHub analysis

Where NC ranks high, low

The report covers 39 key areas related to innovation. Of these, North Carolina ranks 1st, or 5th, for university science and engineering research and development per $1,000 of state gross domestic product, but 48th for public elementary and secondary school current expenditures as a percentage of the state’s gross domestic product.

But North Carolina also ranks 5th in allocating public funds to higher education as a percentage of the state’s gross domestic product, according to the report.

Other areas in which North Carolina ranks high include its population growth between 2000 and 2020, the average number of university startups formed for every million dollars of university spending on R&D S&E, and manufacturing gross domestic product as a percentage. of the state’s gross domestic product.

And other areas where North Carolina scored low compared to other states include per capita income, median household income, and the percentage of state citizens who live below the poverty line.

“An economy‘s average annual salary reflects and provides insight into its job mix,” the report says. “Low average annual wages generally indicate that an economy has a high percentage of low-wage jobs that may be in low-tech, labor-intensive economic sectors. High average annual wages generally indicate that a state’s industrial composition provides a greater share of middle- and high-wage jobs and generates a relatively high standard of living.

The report notes that investments that support stimulating the state’s innovation-based economy “can lead to higher average annual wages, ultimately leading to greater economic well-being and better quality of work.” life”.

But North Carolina’s average annual salary ranked “significantly below the US average and the average salaries of all comparator states,” according to the report.

The “Innovation Road Trip” series features the latest additions to the Triangle Getting Started Guide

Crucial for North Carolina

The results “paint a picture of North Carolina that is both rich in opportunity but also facing challenges,” reads the executive summary.

Highlighted as priorities for the State:

  • Increase the volume and intensity of research and development
  • Better exploitation of the asset base for commercialization
  • Stimulate entrepreneurship
  • Increase the total number of accredited STEM students
  • Strengthening and improving investments in North Carolina’s infrastructure, educational institutions and communities

“We are pleased with the improvement that North Carolina has made and which is reflected in the report; this is real, significant, meaningful progress. But we also recognize that we can and must do better to bring the full potential of the innovation economy to North Carolina and its citizens,” said Michael Cunningham, chairman of the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation, in a press release. “It’s clear that a thriving innovation ecosystem will help create even more well-paying jobs in North Carolina.”

Other state assets:

  • Since 2000, the percentage of commercial science, engineering, and technology (SET) institutions has increased by 70% in North Carolina. This is more than double the rate in the whole of the United States.
  • According to a Commerce statement, total employment at these establishments has increased nearly five times the national average, currently ranking the state 10th nationally.


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