Massachusetts tops in economic evolution -Innovation Foundation index

WASHINGTON, June 16 Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:37pm EDT

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WASHINGTON, June 16 (Reuters) - For 15 years, Massachusetts has been the most economically evolved U.S. state, according to an index released on Monday by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Saying states' economies are more complex than conventional measures show, the foundation looked at states through a lens consisting of five categories: knowledge jobs, globalization, economic dynamism such as the survival of startups, digital adaptation and innovation capacity.

Massachusetts, home to prestigious colleges and universities, scientists from around the world and fast-growing industries, has topped the resulting State New Economy Index since its inception in 1999. The foundation, a non-partisan think tank that focuses on technology, policy and economics, publishes the index every two years.

Delaware ranked second in 2014, the same as 2012.

"Second-place Delaware is perhaps the most globalized of states, with business-friendly corporate law that attracts both domestic and foreign companies and supports a high-wage traded service sector," the foundation said in the report.

California, Washington, Maryland, Colorado, Virginia, Connecticut, Utah and New Jersey rounded out the top 10 states.

"In general, these top 10 New Economy states have more in common than just high-tech firms. They also tend to have a high concentration of managers, professionals, and college-educated residents working in 'knowledge jobs,'" it said. "Many attract high levels of domestic and foreign immigration of highly mobile, highly skilled knowledge workers seeking good employment opportunities and a high quality of life."

Mississippi came in last, followed by West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

"Historically, the economies of many of these states depended on natural resources, on tourism, or on mass-production manufacturing, and relied on low costs rather than innovative capacity to gain a competitive advantage," the foundation said. "States only offering low costs are being undercut by cheaper producers abroad." (Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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