Report: Providence metro area 15th for innovative workers

THE PROVIDENCE METRO area, including Warwick and part of southeastern Massachusetts, was ranking 15th in the country in terms of having the most innovative workers, according to a study by Smartest Dollar. / PBN FILE PHOTO/ARTISTIC IMAGES

PROVIDENCE – The Providence metro area, including Warwick and part of southeastern Massachusetts, was ranked 15th among the largest U.S. metro areas with the most innovative workers, according to a report by Smartest Dollar. 

The financial consulting website used data from O*NET operated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To determine the locations with the most innovative workers, researchers calculated a composite innovation index for each location in the report, which included 350 metro areas and all 50 states. The composite innovation index is an employment-weighted average of the occupation-level innovation scores for each location. 

O*NET database defines innovative jobs as those requiring creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. Under this definition, innovative jobs are found in a wide range of disciplines beyond science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, from the arts to education to entertainment. 

The Providence metro area composite index was 59.45; the share of workers in the most innovative jobs was 3.2%; the number of workers in the most innovative jobs was 17,000; the annual wage for all workers was $60,530, and the average annual wage for workers in the most innovative jobs was $85,627. 

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The Boston metro area, which included Cambridge, Mass., and Nashua, N.H., was ranked second in the nation with the most innovative workers. That area had a composite innovation index of 60.23. The share of workers in the most innovative jobs was 3%. The total of workers in the most innovative jobs was 78,220. The average annual wage for all workers was $76,850, and the average annual wage for all workers in the most innovative jobs was $98,387. 

Researchers also found Massachusetts led the nation in innovative workers, with the highest levels of innovative jobs being found in the Northeast. The Bay State overall had a composite innovation index of 61.27. The share of workers in the most innovative jobs was 3.9%. The total of workers in the most innovative jobs was 134,060. The average annual wage for all workers was $72,940, and the average annual wage for all workers in the most innovative jobs was $106,281.

Rhode Island ranked eighth. The Ocean State overall had a composite innovation index of 60.12. The share of workers in the most innovative jobs was 3.9%. The total of workers in the most innovative jobs was 17,800. The average annual wage for all workers was $62,120, and the average annual wage for all workers in the most innovative jobs was $91,315.

In New England, Vermont was ranked second, Connecticut was fourth, New Hampshire was fifth and Maine was 12th.

Austin, Texas, was the top metro area in the nation. The Texas state capital area had a composite innovation index of 60.36. The share of workers in the most innovative jobs was 3.2%. The total of workers in the most innovative jobs was 34,150. The average annual wage for all workers was $60,260, and the average annual wage for all workers in the most innovative jobs was $81,527. 

The full report can be found here.

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