New tool measures Massachusetts tech performance against other states

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If you wonder what tech companies plan to bring up with Massachusetts policy makers next, you might want to check out MATTERS.

The Massachusetts High Technology Council and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce unveiled a website Monday that ranks Massachusetts against other tech destinations on eight economic benchmarks that assess state laws and regulations and workforce readiness. The tool, called the Massachusetts Technology, Talent, and Economic Reporting System, or MATTERS, is meant to provide a common reference point for executives and business leaders.

By some metrics, Massachusetts does quite well. The number of bachelor’s degree holders and the percentage of its workforce devoted to tech are the second-highest in the country, and the Milken Institute rates it the top state for technology and science. But the state’s tax burdens and unemployment insurance costs are among the nation’s highest; Massachusetts ranked 45th in state and local tax burden per capita, at $5,586 a year, and 44th in unemployment insurance premiums per employee, at $666 a year. And in terms of how hard it is to hire technology workers, Massachusetts ranks dead last.

“We developed MATTERS earlier this year as a critical — but previously missing — tool to inform the efforts of the Council and like-minded organizations and individuals,” said MHTC president Chris Anderson in a statement. “Governor Baker and his administration have joined a select group of business and civic leaders deeply involved in working with MATTERS to help frame an actionable economic development and job-growth strategy.”

The site was developed by the data science department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. According to its website, MATTERS also received support from the state, its real estate arm MassDevelopment, and three private companies: Monster Government Solutions, EMD Millipore, and Trinity Partners.

Rank Data Year Index/Survey Source
1 1st 2014 State Technology and Science Index Milken Institute
24 24th 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index Tax Foundation
20 20th 2015 Top States for Business CNBC
50 62 2015 Hiring Difficulty for Technology Industries Wanted Analytics and Monster Government Solutions
2 15.89% 2013 Tech Employment as Percent of Total Employment National Science Foundation
2 47.20% 2011 Bachelors Degree Holders in Workforce National Science Foundation
44 $666.00 2013 UI Premium Per Employee US Department of Labor
45 $5,586.00 2011 State and Local Tax Burden Per Capita in $ KPMG/Tax Foundation