Maine plunges on technology index


The Bangor Daily News reported yesterday that Maine has dropped 6 places, from being ranked 33rd nationally to now being 39th on the Milken Institute’s State Science and Technology Index.  The index is designed to indicate the extent to which a state possesses the human, intellectual, and capital resources required for entrepreneurship and jobs in the modern technology-driven economy. 

In short, we’re not looking so good.

In particular, Maine scored very poorly with regard to its production of scientists and engineers:

  • We ranked 50th in the percent of Graduate students in Science and Engineering
  • We ranked 50th in number of PhD’s in Science and Engineering per 100,000 25-34 year-olds
  • We ranked 50th in the number of Science and Engineering Post-doctorates per 100-000 25-34 year-olds

These statistics in turn have an impact on the index’s work force indicators, which measure the number of engineers, scientists, computer programmers, and so forth per 100,000 civilian workers.  We ranked 44th in the nation on that set of indicators.

That, in turn, affects our ability to attract R&D investment from outside the state, from both the private and public (government) sectors. We’re 50th in R&D dollars per capita.

Think about what that means. Places like Louisiana, the Dakotas, Mississippi, and West Virginia are doing a better job attracting high tech investment than we are.

By the way, our two closest neighbors, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, are ranked 1st and 9th, respectively. From 2004 to 2008, New Hampshire went up four spots from 12th to 9th while we went down six spots from 33rd to 39th.

Do our leaders get it? Nope. My favorite line from the BDN article:

The governor was upbeat about the latest results, however.  “This reflects that we are doing what we need to do,” he said

It does?

By the way,  Forbes magazine will soon release its ranking of business-friendly states. We were 48th last year.