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Report: State Innovative But Growth Lagging

By JANICE PODSADA, Courant Staff Writer

February 20, 2008

Connecticut ranked fifth in 2007 in technology and innovation, up from eighth place in 2006, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, a nonprofit economic development agency.

The report, called Benchmarking Connecticut 2007, measures Connecticut's standing in comparison to other states in technology, financial and capital resources, entrepreneurial and business vitality, human capital and global links. It also measures the potential for growth in those areas.

That's where Connecticut lags. The state ranked 44th overall in growth, the same as it ranked in 2006, and down from 43rd in 2005.

"Overall, growth is not what we would have hoped for," said Jeffrey Blodgett, CERC's vice president of research.

Blodgett and CERC's president and chief executive, Robert Santy, presented a summary of the findings Tuesday to the legislature's commerce committee:

•Connecticut ranks third in technology output per worker and technology share of gross state product.

• The state ranks sixth in human capital because of the high number of advanced science and engineering degrees and the percent of the state's workforce with college degrees.

• In growth of human capital, the state ranks 40th due to declines in eighth grade math scores on standardized tests.

Between 2005 and 2007, Connecticut's rankings slipped in all categories except financial resources, where the state's position improved. In the majority of growth areas, Connecticut remained weak, with its best ranking at 34th in the global links category.

"If the state is to grow, technological strength is absolutely essential," Blodgett said. "Half of all economic growth can be attributed to technological innovation."

Santy said, "We have a lot of new companies but not enough to sustain the level of technical growth."

Among its list of recommendations, the report urges state officials to stimulate the formation of new businesses, improve the state's public school system and determine why investment in public and university research and development has fallen in recent years.

"Absent any kind of policy intervention, you might expect to see a slow, steady weakening of growth," Blodgett said.

But that need not be the case, Santy said.

"Some of the areas that show weak performance can be addressed by state action," he said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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