Connecticut jumped three places to fourth among all states in Bloomberg's latest U.S. State Innovation Index.
The finance and business publisher gave Connecticut a 79.7 score, behind California (94), Massachusetts (93.8), and Washington (91), with Maryland (77.7) in fifth place.
The index scores states across equally-weighted metrics: research and development intensity, productivity, clusters of companies in technology, STEM jobs, number of degrees in science and engineering disciplines, and patent activity.
Connecticut ranked seventh for patent activity—its highest ranking among the six categories—with eighth-place scores for R&D intensity, productivity, and technology clusters.
Bloomberg scored Connecticut 12th for the number of science and engineering degree holders and 13th for the concentration of STEM jobs.
Legacy of Innovation
CBIA's Joe Brennan said Connecticut's performance in the Bloomberg index was "no surprise," adding the state needed to better leverage that innovation to boost the economy and job growth.
"Connecticut has an incredible legacy of innovation, including the first submarine, the helicopter, color television, and the artificial heart," Brennan said.
"We've seen renewed momentum in recent years driven by a number of factors, including greater private sector investment and an enhanced focus on our research institutions.
"The key now is leveraging those efforts, to translate that innovation into economic growth and job creation, and that's where we need policymakers to focus."
Bloomberg says there's a common thread among the top five innovative states—all either have a major techcentric city or are close to one, as Connecticut is to New York and Boston.
California, ranked second behind Massachusetts when Bloomberg last produced the index in 2016, returned top five scores in all categories except STEM job concentration this year.
Bloomberg says about 15% of the S&P 500 are headquartered in California, with ready access to Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, University of California-Berkeley, and UCLA.
Massachusetts ranked highest for the number of high-tech public companies as well as the percentage of tech firms receiving venture capital funding.
Massachusetts-based companies in the S&P 500 include General Electric, Raytheon, and Biogen, while the state is home to Harvard University, Wellesley College, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Washington, home to Microsoft and Amazon, was the only other state with a score over 90.
Connecticut is home to a number of leading academic and research institutions and the headquarters for 17 S&P 500 companies, including Aetna, United Technologies, Cigna, Charter Communications, The Hartford, Stanley Black & Decker, Xerox, Frontier, and Eversource.
Promote Startup, Acceleration Efforts
Six of the top 10 states are on the Atlantic coast, three are on the Pacific Ocean, while Colorado was the lone landlocked state.
Delaware, New York, and Michigan showed the greatest improvement from the 2016 index, with all three climbing six spots.
Brookings Institution policy director Mark Muro told Bloomberg states must focus on commercializing research activities and promote startup and acceleration efforts.
He said as research institutions commercialize, start-up companies emerge, followed by venture capital and high value jobs, eventually translating into greater economic growth and productivity.
The index' bottom four positions were unchanged from three years ago, with Mississippi ranked 50th, followed by West Virginia, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
Alabama rounded out the bottom five, falling eight spots from 2016.