Missouri shows little progress toward a "new economy"

2012-12-10T15:59:00Z Missouri shows little progress toward a "new economy"By David Nicklaus dnicklaus@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8213 stltoday.com

Missouri isn't any closer to being ready to compete in a high-tech, global economy, according to a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

The group updates its New Economy Index every couple of years, and Missouri's ranking -- 33rd -- is the same as it was in 2010. Illinois slipped five places to 20th.

The foundation says its index shows which states are "positioned to drive innovation-based growth." It uses 26 separate indicators, from the number of high-tech jobs to the availability of venture capital to the formation of new businesses, to calculate the index.

The news isn't all bad for Missouri. The state ranks ninth in information technology jobs, fifth in electronic access to government and 10th in adoption of health information technology. But it also ranks 45th in exports and 43rd in a category called "economic dynamism," which includes the rate of new and fast-growing firms. (In 2010, Missouri was dead last in economic dynamism.)

Illinois is a respectable 11th in venture capital investments, but a miserable 42nd in entrepreneurial activity.

The report urges states to adopt policies that support manufacturing and research, and to abandon "zero sum" incentives that merely try to steal jobs from other states. (Presumably the authors wouldn't like the $5 million in incentives that a Missouri insurance call center recently received to move one mile -- to Kansas.)


David Nicklaus is business columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Subscribe to his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter @dnickbiz.

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