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January 2017

Washington is third most innovative state in U.S.

Washington has the nation's third most innovative economy, according to a ranking by Bloomberg.

The Evergreen State is ranked behind Massachusetts and California in this year's Bloomberg U.S. Innovation Index. Washington had the same No. 3 ranking in 2015.
Seattle also fared well among the nation's most innovative cities, earning 8th place among the top metro areas for total patents awarded since 2000.

The Bloomberg Index used six metrics for its rankings: R&D intensity; productivity; high-tech density; concentration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) employment; science and engineering degree holders; and patent activity.

Washington is ranked first in STEM concentration based on the percentage of the state's workers who are STEM professionals. The state is No. 2 in the nation with the most science and engineering degree holders, and placed third in patent activity.

New Jersey and Maryland round out the list of top five innovative states. Connecticut dropped from that list, falling two spots, from No. 5 to No. 7. Utah made the most impressive jump, moving six places to claim the No. 14 spot. A surge in R&D spending is credited for that gain.

Among innovative cities, Seattle ranked among the top 10, earning 8th place on the list of the top U.S. metro areas for total patents awarded since 2000.

The Bloomberg Index ranked each state based on six metrics: R&D intensity; productivity; high-tech density; concentration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) employment; science and engineering degree holders; and patent activity. States were scored on a 0-to-100 scale, with each metric weighted equally.

Massachusetts earned its first-place ranking in part with "a potent mix of tax incentives to draw in companies," according to Greg Sullivan, research director at Boston-based Pioneer Institute, a public policy research shop. He also cited research partnerships between its big-name universities and local businesses, plus the transfer of much of that research into patentable products as other ingredients of the "secret sauce" for that state's innovation.