Colorado ranks No. 2 on the Milken Institute’s 2018 State Technology and Science Index, a biennial assessment of states’ capabilities and competitiveness in a tech-focused economy. Massachusetts retained its No. 1 ranking in the report, with Maryland at No. 3 and California at No. 4. Fifth-place Utah was the only new member of the top five.

Utah rose to fifth from eighth on the strength of rapid employment growth in technology and science. Washington fell to sixth from fifth. Complete results are available online at www.milkeninstitute.org.

“The success stories of states profiled in this year’s index reflect sustained efforts to not only build but to maintain their ecosystem,” said Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics.

“Making the changes that are necessary to perform well on the State Technology and Science Index can contribute to stronger long-term economic performance.”

Utah’s move to fifth was driven by tech-sector employment growth — the fastest in the nation — averaging 4.3 percent annually. The state also had the most university graduates with degrees in science and engineering — 15.4 per 1,000 students. The State Technology and Science Index provides a benchmark for policymakers to evaluate their state’s capabilities and formulate strategies for improving STEM education, attracting businesses and creating jobs in the tech sector.

Indices considered in the report include the number of patents issued and doctoral degrees granted in each state.

“Investing in human capital and developing a STEM workforce is crucial for regional economies that want to attract large technology companies and the jobs they bring,” said Minoli Ratnatunga, Milken Institute’s director of regional economics research.

The index draws on data from government and private sources dating from 2015 to 2017, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Science Foundation, the Small Business Administration, the American Community Survey and Moody’s Analytics.

Originally published in Innovation News, 12/18/2018