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November 23, 2010

It’s clear that the U.S. economy has declined relative to that of other nations in the past decade, says a recent report by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). But within the country's borders, New Jersey ranks fourth in a movement toward a "global, innovation-based new economy."

The study took a look at 26 economic indicators, ranging from the education and skills of the workforce; to the kind of companies located here (manufacturers, exporters, high-tech, etc.); to the amount of foreign direct investment; to the number of IPOs, entrepreneurs and patent applications; to the rate of technology adoption in a variety of industries.

The 26 indicators were then divided into five broad categories labeled: knowledge jobs; globalization; economic dynamism; the digital economy; and innovation capacity. When all the factors were weighed, New Jersey ranked fourth after Massachusetts, Washington, and Maryland and just ahead of Connecticut. Delaware ranked sixth, New York 10th and Pennsylvania 22nd.

Of the five broad categories, New Jersey got its highest marks for digital economy (3) and globalization (4). Still, there were plenty of areas within the categories that need improvement, such as state and local e-government (32). On the other hand, New Jersey ranked first in the country for broadband adoption. In terms of knowledge jobs and innovation capacity, the Garden State performed well, ranking seventh and eighth. New Jersey's poorest showing was in economic dynamism, where it ranked 13th in the country. Economic dynamism looked at things like the number of IPOs, how much job churn there was, and the number of fast-growing entrepreneurial companies.

In its statement, the foundation credited New Jersey’s showing to its “strong pharmaceutical industry, coupled with a high-tech agglomeration around Princeton, an advanced services sector in Northern New Jersey, and high levels of inward foreign direct investment."

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