MADISON – Wisconsin is improving its standing among the 50 states when it comes to producing patents, creating high-tech jobs and investing in research and development, according to a report released Wednesday by the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Download the report (PDF)

The report, titled “Knowledge and Technology in the Wisconsin Economy: Shaping the New Wisconsin Economy,” is a follow-up to the Tech Council’s 2002 report, “Vision 2020: A Model Wisconsin Economy.” It was produced by NorthStar Economics, a Madison firm led by Dr. David J. Ward.

“Wisconsin is retooling its economy at a rate that meets or exceeds goals set in our ‘Vision 2020’ report,” Tech Council President Tom Still said. “While a great deal of work remains to be done, the report shows progress in three significant areas as compared to the nation as a whole.”

The report shows that Wisconsin:

  • Continues to outpace the nation in producing patents, and appears to be widening the per capita gap versus the U.S. average. In 1998, Wisconsin ranked 16th in the nation in producing all types of patents per 10,000 people; by 2001, it had risen to 13th.

  • Has improved its position with respect to the percentage of its workforce in high-tech occupations. In 1998, Wisconsin was 20 percent below the U.S. average; in 2004, Wisconsin was about 12 percent below the national average.

  • Ranks among the top 20 states when it comes to private sector R&D capital spent per capita. About $3.6 billion was invested in private R&D in 2002, the last year for which complete data is available. That does not include academic R&D, a category in which Wisconsin ranks 13th in the nation.

The report is the second of four “Vision 2020” updates. The first report in June summarized “Knowledge Worker” measures, and the next report in early 2006 will assess “Economic Output.” The final update will analyze “Business and Finance” trends in the state.

Download the report (PDF)