Boston Ranks 2nd in Interstate Economic Competitiveness

5/27/2008

For the second consecutive year, the Boston metropolitan area ranked second in a measure of interstate economic competitiveness developed by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, second only to Salt Lake City.

In the Metro Area Competitiveness Report 2007, the Institute defines competitiveness as “the policies and conditions that ensure and sustain a high level of per capita income and its continued growth.”

The report assigns 38 variables to eight categories – government and fiscal policy, security, infrastructure, human resources, technology, business incubation, openness, and environmental policy – and combines these eight measures into a single “competitiveness index.”

“Boston is still a very competitive metropolitan area,” said Beacon Hill Institute Executive Director David G. Tuerck. “The continued emphasis on the region’s fiscal woes detracts from our understanding of the economic fundamentals, which remain as strong as ever. Boston continues to benefit from the high quality of its labor force, its strength in high tech and its role as a financial center.”

Boston scores well on the BHI index based on its position in technology, business incubation, and human resources. For example, Boston once again was in the top ten for all the five indicators comprising the technology sub-index. The depth of these strengths more than offset areas in which the region traditionally performs poorly, such as infrastructure (electricity prices and travel time to work) and government policy (unemployment benefits and cost of doing business).

Denver; Portland, Oregon; Washington D.C.; Seattle; Virginia Beach; Minneapolis; San Jose; and Providence rounded out the top 10 this year.

Memphis, Birmingham, Detroit, New Orleans, and Riverside, Calif., rank at the bottom of the index this year. 

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