In both 2009 and 2018, the United States’ average for industry R&D investment as a share of private sector GDP was 1.6 percent, with the lowest average of the decade being 1.4 percent in 2014. This leveled percentage of industry investment is reflected in the charts for individual states; many never experienced year-to-year percentage changes of more than 0.5 percent between 2009 and 2018.
A handful of states saw business R&D intensity increase relative to prior years. The largest percentage point increases between 2017 and 2018 include Idaho (from 2.7 to 3.7 percent), Massachusetts (5.0 to 5.4 percent), Missouri (2.0 to 2.6 percent), New Hampshire (1.9 to 3.4 percent), New Jersey (3.2 to 3.7 percent), North Carolina (2.3 to 2.5 percent), Oregon (3.9 to 2.5 percent), and Washington (4.7 to 6.0 percent).
Few states’ business sectors have shown large declines in R&D investment, with the largest drops in percentage between 2017 and 2018 being Connecticut (from 3.6 to 3.0 percent) and Georgia (1.3 to 1.0 percent). Alaska experienced a noticeable drop as well (from 2.0 percent in 2017 to 0.1 percent in 2018), however this was due to a higher-than-average level of R&D investment within the state throughout 2017, with 2018 representing a return to a percentage more in line with their historical norm.
Business R&D statistics, provided by the National Science Foundation, can be found here. SSTI’s analysis of state business R&D performance between 2009 and 2018 can be accessed here. State GDP data is drawn from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.