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Massachusetts ranked first in new index of U.S. economic opportunity


from Bloomberg:

Massachusetts ranked first in economic opportunity in a new index that bolsters President Barack Obama’s argument that government and education are essential for creating the conditions for growth.

Massachusetts, Maryland and Minnesota placed among the top five states measured by unemployment, household income and the chance for residents to boost earnings. The new gauge was developed at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania.

“The states that invest in their citizens end up having better economies, which would go counter to the idea that we should strip down the size of government,” said Meredith Bagby, an author and founder of the group that published the index. “The flip side is that governments have to be well-managed.”

The ranking counters assertions by Republican leaders in TexasFlorida and South Carolina that they are lands of opportunity. South Carolina is 50th on the list from Bagby’s States Project, while Florida is 44th and Texas comes in at 29th. Still, that was one up on California, at 30th. The two most-populous states have traded claims to producing the most new jobs in the nation in the past year.

“States provide a really interesting way to look, to test out those philosophies” that were a focal point of this year’s political debate, Bagby said. “What’s better, big government or small government? What’s better for the economy?”

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