The fifth category - work force - of our state rankings shows few surprises. The density of the East Coast and the engineering clusters around national labs play a big factor in pushing certain states ahead.
The map above and the charts on the facing page comprise the fifth installment of our ongoing series that ranks the U.S. states for their micro- and nanotechnology development.
The category presented here - work force - is one of five categories used to generate a state’s overall score. In the previous four issues, analyses of venture capital investment, micro- and nanotech density, research, and innovation were presented. A compilation of the current series of individual categories is scheduled for the July/August 2007 issue of Small Times magazine.
The Bay State maintained its top spot for work force for the fourth year in a row. The state benefits from a deeply rooted tech cluster that is fed by some of the nation’s top universities. Sounds like California - except that on a per-capita basis Massachusetts is the denser of the two. The state’s work force is highly educated, ranking third behind just Maryland and New Mexico for its density of science and engineering doctorate holders. And those well-educated workers are oriented in the right direction: Massachusetts tops the charts for the number of engineers who call it home, relative to its overall number of workers.
Maryland benefited from two things in the work force category: its overall size and its highly disproportionate number of science and engineering doctorate holders. The result? A top position in the measure that tracks the density of doctorates in the state as a percentage of overall workers. On the engineering side, the state is still strong, but not as strong as it had been. It ranked seventh in the measure that tracks the density of engineers in the state.
3. New Mexico
New Mexico lacks the proximity to bigger brethren states and the resulting cross-border pollination that breeds so much tech development. However, it is buttressed by government laboratories, universities, and growing tech clusters in Albuquerque and elsewhere in the state. As a result, it offers an extremely well-educated work force, ranking second in the measure that tracks science and engineering doctorate holders. And on the engineering side, a strong fourth-place showing put it in third overall for the work- force category for a total score just a little over half a point behind Maryland.
Connecticut benefits from major engineering installations both along the Atlantic coast and inland near its capital of Hartford, as well as a location that tucks it neatly between the hotbeds of Massachusetts and New York. It was strongest in the measure tracking engineer density, with a third-place showing, but it also placed a solid fifth in the science and engineering doctorate density measure.
Colorado is one of only two southwest states to make the top 10 for work force (along with New Mexico). It fared reasonably well in the doctorate density measure, netting an eighth-place showing and coming in ahead of California and Washington. But it really pulled out all the stops in engineer density, with a second-place position. The state benefits from a number of high-tech corridors, including a cluster built around computer memory development.
Virginia wasn’t tops in either measure, but secured its sixth-place showing by virtue of netting the sixth spot in both science and engineering doctorate density as well as engineer density. The state’s strong defense-related ties don’t show up in all our categories since much of the data about the industry is not disclosed - but it shows up clearly in the work-force category.
Juggernaut California doesn’t fare as well in the work- force category as it does in other categories used in Small Times’ rankings - in large part due to its overall size. Despite world-leading tech clusters in both the northern and southern parts of the state, California’s overall size and diversity conspire to work against its showing. Now if only the rankings were done on an absolute basis...
Washington notched a seat in the top 10 for work force by placing tenth in the science and engineering doctorate density and eighth in the engineer density. The state benefits from Seattle area biotech and software clusters.
9. Rhode Island
Little Rhode Island benefits from its size and its location on the eastern seaboard as well as from the presence of some world-class educational institutions. It placed seventh on the science and engineering doctorate density and ninth in the engineer density measure.
An East Coast location, proximity to both the mid-Atlantic states and the Chesapeake region, and some major industrial centers supporting the headquarters of global corporations put Delaware into the mix. It was an impressive fourth in science and engineering doctorate holders, and tenth in engineers.
- David Forman
Two measures are used to generate the work-force scores reflected in the map. Individual scores for the top-10 in each measure are reflected in the charts below.
The two measures are used to evaluate the work force in each state based on education as well as employment - in each case relative to the overall work force in that state. Additional details are available under each chart.
The final scores on the map are calculated by taking the average of the two scores shown here, then normalizing the result on a 100-point scale.
Sources: Small Times uses data from the National Science Foundation, as well as other proprietary data sources.
A percent score is calculated by dividing the number of engineers in the state by the number of workers in that state. To generate the final score, the result was then normalized on a 100-point scale.