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How are we doing? – Investment in growth lags

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[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 emerging economy sectors, including technology and other knowledge-based businesses.

TARGET: North Carolina is one of the top 10 states in the value of initial public stock offerings as a percentage of State Gross State Product.

Based on this measure — indicating the state’s ability to revive its economy — North Carolina is average at best.

MEASURE: National ranking in the value of initial public offerings as a percentage of State Gross Product.

In 1998, North Carolina ranked 29th in the value of initial public offerings as a percentage of State Gross Product, according to the State New Economy Index by the Progressive Policy Institute.

In 1999, North Carolina ranked 23rd in the U.S. in the percentage of jobs generated by “gazelle” companies — young, high-growth companies — another measure of economic dynamism.

TARGET: North Carolina is one of the top 10 states in industry research and development spending as a percentage of State Gross Product.

Our capacity for economic innovation, as measured by research and development spending, venture capital spending and patents, is relatively limited compared to other states.

While research and development spending grew throughout the 1990s as a share of State Gross Product, our research and development spending has remained below the U.S. average since 1987.

Our track record for venture capital investments has also been disappointing, consistently falling below the U.S. average.

MEASURE: National rank in research and development spending as a percentage of State Gross Product.

In 1999, North Carolina ranked 27th in research and development spending as a percentage of State Gross Product.

TARGET: North Carolina ranks among the top 10 states in the ratio of high-tech workers per 1,000 jobs.

North Carolina remains a mid-tier state in the generation of high-tech and knowledge jobs.

MEASURE: National ranking in the ratio of high-tech workers per 1,000 jobs.

In 1999, North Carolina ranked 23rd in the number of high-tech workers per 1,000 jobs and 22nd in the percent of civilian scientist and engineers.

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