Local News
December 21, 2016

Think tank measures Vermont’s tech economy

While policy discussions about technology and innovation issues often focus narrowly on iconic places like Silicon Valley, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) reported in a new study that high-tech innovation plays a large role in the Vermont economy.
The Washington, D.C.-based think tank for science and technology policy examined 20 indicators of the high-tech economy — both traditional economic data such as technology exports and newer metrics such as broadband deployment — to paint statistical portraits of all 435 U.S. congressional districts, the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It found a nation in which the drivers of high-tech innovation are widely diffused.
“The myopic view that the high-tech economy is only Silicon Valley and a few other bright spots like Boston or North Carolina’s Research Triangle is flat wrong,” said Robert D. Atkinson, ITIF’s president. “Indeed, Vermont has tech-driven activity occurring locally. This should serve as a signal to every member of Congress from Vermont and the rest of the country that tech matters to their states and districts, so they should support broad-based, bipartisan policies to spur further innovation and growth at home and across the nation.”
The new ITIF report includes a statistical profile of Vermont, as well as specific examples of companies, universities, and other organizations driving innovation locally.
Among the top ten states for the following indicators of the high-tech economy, Vermont ranked second in high-tech share of all manufacturing exports and fourth in both patent filers and patents filed per 1,000 workers.
Vermont’s at-large district also ranked in the top 50 districts nationally for the following indicators: sixth in high-tech share of all manufacturing exports, 27th in high-tech manufacturing exports, and 50th in patent filers.
“The country’s innovation-driven, high-tech economy really is much more widely diffused than most people imagine,” said Atkinson. “We urge members of Congress and other policymakers to find common cause in advancing an agenda that continues to build up the foundations of an innovation-driven economy, including a highly skilled workforce, robust research and development spending, digital-age infrastructure, and globally competitive tech-driven industries. It’s the surest way to raise productivity, bolster competitiveness, and boost wages.”

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