How are we doing? – New economy faces challenge

[Editor’s note: The N.C. Progress Board, a group created by state lawmakers to track trends in North Carolina and set goals for the state, issued its first report in December 2001.

[Each week, the Philanthropy Journal spotlights an issue examined in the report. The goals, targets and analysis below are those of the Progress Board.]

GOAL: North Carolina will expand the emerging economy sectors, including technology and other knowledge-based businesses.

Our state’s new economy involves industries ranging from information technology and instruments to chemicals and plastics.

Remaining a new-economy leader will depend on stimulating private investment in technology and innovation, creating a receptive climate for spending on new-venture research and development — building blocks of successful knowledge-based companies.

We also must make targeted investments in infrastructure that new-economy firms need, such as telecommunications networks, modern transportation systems and logistics centers.

Harnessing the full potential of our universities will expand our pool of knowledge workers and promote the growth of new-economy firms in all sectors, including software, bioinformatics, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.

TARGET: North Carolina will rank among the top 10 states in the Progressive Policy Institute’s New Economy Index.

North Carolina has gained recognition for our success in attracting new economy businesses.

The Wall Street Journal ranked North Carolina among “America’s 13 Hottest High Tech Regions” in 1999.  But the state is not where we need to be to remain competitive.

MEASURE: National ranking on the State New Economy Index.

In 1999, North Carolina ranked 30th in the U.S. for overall new-economy rankings, 39th in aggregated digital-economy scores and 31st in aggregated knowledge-job scores. 

Also, in 1999, North Carolina ranked 39th in the U.S. in overall workforce education and 29th in initial public offerings, according to the State New Economy Index by the Progressive Policy Institute.

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