How Does Rhode Island Rank on the 2020 State New Economy Index?
Atkinson periodically publishes the State New Economy Index to measure states’ economic structure. The 2020 Index builds on eight prior editions beginning in 1999. The previous Index was in 2017.
Rhode Island ranks 23rd overall on the ITIF's 2020 State New Economy Index.
"COVID, I think, is really a wake up call...from a business and transformation perspective....[For Rhode Island] It's not just about recruiting companies anymore. That fact that you're near one of the greatest knowledge worker hubs in the world [Boston], even if you are just recruiting the people, they're spending money and, at the same time, maybe they get tired of their company up there, and they want to start their own company and say they want to start it in Rhode Island," said Atkinson.
The State New Economy Index uses 25 indicators to measure the extent to which state economies are knowledge-based, globalized, entrepreneurial, IT-driven, and innovation-oriented. The Index is broken down by five key indicators: knowledge jobs, globalization, economic dynamism, digital economy and innovation capacity.
Key RI Findings
- RI ranks #2 in broadband and telecommunications. Broadband adoption enables telecommuting, distance education, telemedicine and other applications that boost productivity and improve quality of life.
- RI ranks #4 in economic dynamism as measured by business “churn” in the economy; fast-growing firms; the number and value of companies’ IPOs; and the number of individual inventor patents granted.
- RI ranks #5 in non-industry investment in R&D. Federal, state, university and non-profit R&D has had a substantial impact on innovation in the state.
- RI ranks #5 in Health IT reflecting both a concerted effort on the part of hospitals to adopt electronic health record systems and offer patients more opportunities for electronic engagement.
- Rhode Island scored in the top quartile in the category of knowledge jobs.
- Atkinson believes the Covid-19 pandemic may transform the way knowledge workers live and work. He says it may be easier to take advantage of the lower cost of living in places like Rhode Island.
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