Colorado Graded by the New Economy Benchmarking Report Card
Recently, the Progressive Policy Institute released the "State New Economy Index." This index provides a scoring of each individual state's economic standing according to an organized set of criteria. Colorado is among the highest ranked, with a standing in the third place.
The basic idea of the index is to prove how well each state's economy has adjusted to the "new economy." The new economy is a shift from an industrial/manufacturing era to an era that includes a "knowledge and idea-based economy where the keys to wealth and job creation are the extent to which ideas, innovation, and technology are embedded in all sectors of the economy."
For the past 25 years or so, Colorado, as well as Massachusetts and California have been able to rank high in this index. This is because all three states have been progressing away from a reliance on natural resources and manufacturing and instead progressing towards globalization, networking and allowing employees to maintain a broad range of skills.
The State New Economy Index, available at http://www.neweconomyindex.org/states, contains a description of indicators along with a ranking and score for each state and its ranking against each indicator. These indicators critique each state's adjustment to what has been titled the New Economy. The New Economy is the shift from a manufacturing dependent economy to one of innovative ideas that allows room for technological advancement in all aspects. Along with the scores and rankings there is also a list of recommendations provided, which could possibly improve the economic performance as far as technology is concerned.
Recently the "Technology, Innovation, and Economic Growth in Colorado," the "1999 State of the State Technology Readiness Report" was completed by the CU Business Advancement Center and is now available at http://www.colorado.edu/cubac/TIG.htm. This report highlights the contributing factors of technological growth in Colorado. Information and data compares Colorado growth to that of the country.
The State New Index consists of 17 different indicators; these indicators are summarized into five categories. The Progressive Policy Institute reviews all 17 indicators in comparison to each state and then assigns a percentage and a ranking. The first category, "knowledge jobs" (any job that requires two or more years of college) consists of three indicators. The first indicator in this category is a comparison between the number of office jobs and the total number of jobs in the workforce. The second indicator compares the ratio of managerial jobs to others, as well as the number of positions held by professionals and technicians to all others. Thirdly, workforce education is also factored. In other words the number of advanced degrees, or some sort of college work is measured. Colorado ranked first against this indicator with a percentage of 75.90%, proving to be one of the most employee educated states within the "new economy."
Although Colorado scored well for knowledge jobs the same is not true for the globalization category. Colorado, scoring poorly against these indicators placed 17th against the Export Focus of Manufacturing indicator and 25th in Foreign Direct Investment, making this category Colorado's lowest position. Yet in the third category, Aggregated Economic Dynamism, Colorado did better overall and ranked third. In this category the number of jobs held in fast-growing companies is measured as well as the percentage of business start-ups and failures on a whole of all companies.
Next the transformation towards a digital economy is evaluated. Here, four items are measured: the percent of adults online, the number of ".com" domain name registrations, the amount of technology in schools and how far both state and local governments render services using information technologies. Although Colorado ranked fourth in an overall ranking of this category, the state did not do as well in the Technology in Schools and Digital Government categories, where Colorado was ranked 30.
Lastly technological innovation capacity is measured. In this final indicator of the State New Economy Index, five factors are measured which include: the number of high technological jobs; the number of scientists and engineers within the workforce; number of patents issued; industry investment in R&D; and venture capital activity.
The State New Index, along with ranking each state, provides general recommendations that could possibly improve standings for certain indictors. For example the suggestion to improve educational standards by "overhauling K-12 public school funding systems" could apply to Colorado. The Index report stresses that educational improvements will inevitably improve technical advancements within the economy.
The Digital Government indicator is another one of Colorado's weaknesses. Recommendations given to improve this ranking include encouraging electronic commerce and also encouraging a cooperation between government, universities and business.
Each state was critiqued and awarded points against each indicator. The highest possible number of total points is (100); this can only be obtained by being first place in each category. Massachusetts holds the highest rank, (82.27), while the lowest score is (22.63), held by Mississippi. Overall, Colorado scored 72.32%.
[All information from: neweconomyindex.org--Article by Sara Musfeldt]
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