And that's not bad at all, when you consider we're talking about a ranking of all 50 states in what the Seattle Times calls "a gold-standard measure of competitiveness:" the 2012 State New Economy Index compiled by The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
Washington "scores high due not only to its strength in software [and] aviation, but also because of the entrepreneurial hotbed of activity that has developed in the Puget Sound region, and heavy use of digital technologies in all its sectors," the report says.
The indicators applied by the institute fall into five categories: knowledge jobs; globalization; economic dynamism; the digital economy; and innovation capacity.The front-runner once again is Massachusetts, yet it no longer holds the big advantage over the other states that it did just two years ago, in the 2010 Index. Although Washington has slipped from second to third since 2010, the pack -- now led by Delaware -- has closed ground on the leader.
But the broader picture for the nation is not so bright, the report says:
More than three years on from the end of the Great Recession, only six states have regained employment levels enjoyed prior to the recession, and 17 states are still more than 5 percent below their pre-recession employment levels.
The culprit? The report says it's "the decline in the competitiveness of the U.S. economy in the global marketplace." The decline is reflected in a steep drop in manufaturing jobs and investment since 2000.
"For the United States to be competitive," the rerport says, "one key will be to compete more on the basis of innovation and entrepreneurship, and less on cost."
There's plenty in the full report for policymakers to think about as they allocate resources for future economic development.
Read this story in Spanish here.