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Wisconsin moves up in key economic index

Wisconsin ranks 26th in the latest report from the national Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, which is the highest the state has ranked in the ITIF’s “New Economy Index” since it was first published in 1999.

Based in Washington, D.C., the foundation was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania as the top science and technology think tank in the United States and second in the world.

In its latest report, Wisconsin ranked just behind Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania and just ahead of Nebraska, Missouri, and Idaho. Top-ranked states were Massachusetts, California, Washington, Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland. In previous years, Wisconsin’s highest rank overall was 29th and once stood as low as 37th among the 50 states.

Here’s how the state of Wisconsin ranked in 2017 in the various individual categories annually tracked by the independent, nonprofit foundation.

  • Information technology jobs: 12
  • Managerial, professional, and technical jobs: 30
  • Workforce education: 26
  • Immigration of knowledge workers: 27
  • Internal migration of U.S. knowledge workers: 26
  • Manufacturing value-added: 27
  • High-wage traded services: 22
  • Foreign direct investment: 43
  • Export focus of manufacturing: 38
  • High-tech exports: 22
  • Business churning: 38
  • Fast-growing firms: 31
  • Initial public offerings: 31
  • Inventor patents: 26
  • Online agriculture: 22
  • eGovernment: 6
  • Broadband telecommunications: 11
  • Health IT: 26
  • High-tech jobs: 20
  • Scientists and engineers: 16
  • Patents: 27
  • Industry investment in R&D: 18
  • Non-industry investment in R&D: 19
  • Movement toward a ‘green’ economy: 45
  • Venture capital: 27

These indicators were part of five broader categories: knowledge jobs, globalization, economic dynamism, the digital economy, and innovation capacity. Wisconsin ranked 26th, 41st, 35th, 9th, and 27th, respectively, in those five major groupings.

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, the independent, nonprofit science and technology advisor to the governor and the Legislature, says the report shows that Wisconsin is making important strides in laying the foundation for a stronger digital economy, but “much work remains in terms of making Wisconsin more global in its business and industry outlook.”

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