North Carolina’s Competitiveness in the New Economy

About the Author

Jonathan Morgan

Jonathan Morgan is a School of Government faculty member.

Policymakers in Raleigh are grappling with how best to enhance North Carolina’s pwinning_in_the_new_economyrospects for achieving higher levels of economic growth and prosperity.  This has resulted in a renewed focus on the state’s competitiveness as a location for jobs and private investment.  Much of the current policy discussion centers on the role of taxes in influencing the state’s ability to attract and grow new businesses.  One perspective is that lowering tax rates and the overall tax burden that businesses incur will make North Carolina more competitive.  A related tactic is to take steps to ease the regulatory burden that North Carolina businesses face.  While the relative tax burden and regulatory environment are important factors, particularly for certain types of industries, the state’s ability to successfully compete in the New Economy involves a number of other vital components.  A recent report shows how well North Carolina stacks up to other states on several key New Economy success factors.  The results suggest that there is much room for improvement in preparing the Old North State to compete in the New Economy.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation produces the State New Economy Index every few years as a way to benchmark economic transformation in the 50 states.  The composite index is comprised of 26 indicators that are grouped into five broad categories that capture the essential dimensions of the New Economy: knowledge jobs, globalization, economic dynamism, digital economy, and innovation capacity (see Table below).  The top ranked states in 2012 (in order) are Massachusetts, Delaware, Washington, California, Maryland, Virginia, Colorado, Utah, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

North Carolina is in the middle of the pack with a ranking of 25th overall based on the 2012 composite index.  Previously, the state ranked 24th in 2010, 26th in 2007, 24th in 2002, and 30th 1999.  On individual indicators, North Carolina’s highest scores and best rankings relate to the: amount of foreign direct investment, worker productivity in the manufacturing sector, use of information technology in health care, number of fast growing firms, number and value of initial public stock offerings (IPOs), and employment of information technology (IT) professionals outside the IT industry.  North Carolina received the lowest scores for the number of individual inventor patents granted, the percentage of households online, residential and business access to broadband, and the use of information technologies in state government (see Table below).

State New Economy Index NC Rank 
Knowledge jobs
Information technology jobs 16
Managerial, professional, & technical jobs 28
Workforce education 29
Immigration of knowledge workers 18
Manufacturing value added 12
High wage traded services 22
Export focus of industry 31
Foreign direct investment 11
Economic dynamism
Job churning 23
Fast growing firms 16
Initial public offerings 17
Entrepreneurial activity 21
Inventor patents 42
Digital economy
Online population 40
E-government 34
Online agriculture 23
Broadband telecommunication 38
Health information technology 15
Innovation capacity
High-tech jobs 20
Scientists and engineers 21
Patents 31
Industry R&D 31
Non-industry R&D 18
Green economy 19
Venture capital 21
Source: The 2012 State New Economy Index



Leave a Reply

We will read all comments submitted to us, but we will publish only those comments that serve to advance our readers’ understanding of a post and are consistent with our institutional commitment to non-advocacy.

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>