By at least one measure, Florida has a lot of work to do if it wants to join the ranks of innovation powerhouse states. The Sunshine State ranked 34th out of 50 in The Bloomberg U.S. Innovation Index.
The 2016 index, released last week, scored each of the 50 states on a 0-100 scale across six equally weighted 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.
No. 1 on the ranking was Massachusetts, which enjoyed a faster recovery from the last recession than most states and boasts a 2.9 percent unemployment rate. The state’s innovation is a potent mix of tax incentives to draw in companies, research partnerships between its big-name universities and local businesses, and the transfer of much of that research into patent-able products, said Greg Sullivan, research director at Boston-based Pioneer Institute, in a Bloomberg report.
California, Washington, New Jersey and Maryland rounded out the top five most innovative states. Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi are the least innovative in the U.S., the data show.
Keeping Florida from the bottom was its relatively high ranking – 11th – in tech company density, defined in this study as the the number of highly technical publicly traded companies, such as in aerospace and defense, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, software, energy etc compared to all public companies in the state. But all the other indicators were very low; Florida ranked 35th for R&D intensity, 44th for productivity, 40th for STEM concentration, 33rd for science and engineering degree holders; and 32nd for patent activity.
Florida ranked 35th overall in 2015.