Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
June 14, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Wallet Hub ranks states on economic performance and strength

Tennessee is the third-highest ranked state in the Southeast overall, trailing Georgia and Florida but ahead of the others.

WalletHub’s latest ranking compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 28 key indicators of economic performance and strength that range from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to start-up activity to the share of jobs in high-tech industries.

The good news for the Volunteer State is that Tennessee ranks #15 overall, the third highest rated of what would be considered Southeastern states. Georgia ranks #11 and Florida #15 in the overall scoring. Neighbor North Carolina comes in at #7 while Virginia is #16.

Other states in the Southeast, in rank order, are Alabama (#31), South Carolina (#33), Arkansas (#41), Kentucky (#45), Mississippi (#48), and Louisiana (#50).

Another piece of good news for Tennessee is a ranking of #6 in the nation on economic activity and #9 for economic health. On the downside, the Volunteer State is rated #37 for innovation potential which places it behind three other Southeastern states. Georgia is #25, Florida is #32, and Alabama is #35.

Why such a lower rating for innovation potential? It has to be the data that include these criteria:

  • Share of jobs in high-tech industries;
  • Share of jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics;
  • Independent inventor patents per 1,000 working-age population;
  • Industry R&D investment amount per total civilian employed population;
  • Non-industry R&D investment amount as a share of GDP; and
  • Entrepreneurial activity based on the Kauffman Index of Start-up Activity.

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