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New reports bolster broadband data, provide tactics for successful state broadband expansion

Two new reports, one from the National Association of Counties (NACO) and the other from the Pew Charitable Trusts, provide new data on the gaps in access to broadband and some tactics for how states can effectively develop their broadband expansion projects.

Momentum builds for $50 million Regional Innovation program in FY 2021

Nine national, nonprofit think tanks and innovation-focused associations have written a letter urging the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations subcommittees to provide $50 million in FY 2021 for Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS; now Build-to-Scale). Similarly, 50 current and former awardees have written to ask Congress to continue expanding the program’s support. These efforts follow dozens of meetings between SSTI members and congressional offices early last month.

Aging states face greater economic constraints

As the country’s working age demographic continues to get older, state budgets, especially those in the Northeast, will face greater pressure from increased Medicaid costs, says a new report from S&P Global Ratings. Environmental, Social, And Governance: Increasing Generational Dependency Poses Long-Term Social Risks To U.S. States' Fiscal And Economic Stability examines those trends resulting from the shifting demographics. By 2035, the number of people age 65 and older is expected to outnumber those under the age of 18 for the first time in U.S. history. This is expected to create economic, fiscal and social challenges for state governments.

States launching innovation initiatives across the country

Proving that innovation is appealing to states regardless of their size or political leanings, new initiatives in both Democratic and Republican states, as well as large states like California and small states like Vermont, are driving innovation agendas into action in areas ranging from clean energy and aid for students and colleges, to new venture capital investments and bond financing to support business collaborations with higher education to help translate cutting-edge research into products and companies.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2020: NH offers help for students, CA for homeless

Two more governors have delivered their state of the state addresses over the past two weeks, with help for students taking the stage in New Hampshire while California’s governor enumerated the state’s growth and strengths, but devoted most of his remarks to the ongoing problem of homelessness.

Opportunity for regional policymakers to accelerate clean energy innovation

Clean energy innovation provides an opportunity for state-level policymakers and other stakeholders to expand economic opportunities and increase the impact of federal activity on climate and energy while also creating local economic development opportunities, according to a new report.

USDA announces new Agriculture Innovation Agenda

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently announced a new Agriculture Innovation Agenda (AIA) to accelerate innovation so that American agriculture can achieve the goal of increasing production 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050.

Useful Stats: Establishment births and deaths and employment growth and loss, 2000-2018

This edition of Useful Stats examines — by state and over the period from 2000 to 2018 — how many new establishments were founded, how many jobs these new establishments created, how many establishments closed, and how many jobs were lost from those closing establishments. In only one year, the last year of the period, 2018, all states experienced positive net gains in employment and establishments, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As shown in the interactive map below, the states that had the greatest number of new establishments in 2018 were California (63,073), Florida (31,063), Texas (28,079), Washington (20,525), and New York (13,967). The states that experienced the greatest net employment numbers in 2018 were California (177,061), Florida (117,746), Texas (115,624), Washington (45,394), and New York (44,045).

Advanced manufacturing projects in 25 states share $140 million from DOE

The Advanced Manufacturing Program within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy awarded nearly $140 million to companies and universities in 25 states and the District of Columbia to support 55 advanced manufacturing research projects. Recipients are contributing an additional $47.8 million toward project costs. Projects received an average of $2.5 million, but range from $400,000 to $12 million. The accompanying map presents the distribution of awards across the country and brief details on each recipient.

Workforce development key to state economic development initiatives

A report on employment trends from hiring firm Robert Half found that 2020 presents greater challenges for employers looking to expand their workforce as the country’s labor market is near full employment and job openings remain at high levels.

Useful Stats: Per Capita County-level GDP

Although changes in gross domestic product (GDP) give us an idea of how economies are changing, this measure fails to tell the full story. This edition of Useful Stats examines county-level GDP-per-capita, the measure of economic output for each resident in an area. What we see is strongly skewed data with high 2018 GDP-per-capita levels and high 10-year growth rates concentrated primarily in low population-high output counties. We also see that rural populations have declined over the period while metropolitan areas have grown, yet the median GDP-per-capita growth rates between the groups are essentially the same.

Regional Innovation Strategies making $35 million available

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has announced the FY 2020 notice of funding availability for the Regional Innovation Strategies program. There are multiple changes to the program this year, including that EDA is now referring to the program as “Build to Scale.” A total of $35 million is available this year due to support from Congress with advocacy from SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council. The Trump Administration budget proposal for FY2020, and again for FY2021, proposed eliminating the program.

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