With the United States expected to spend more than $550 billion on research and development in 2018, the personal finance website WalletHub has released its report on The Most and Least Innovative States of 2018.

The survey looked at human capital and innovation environment, the share of STEM professionals (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), the demands for those jobs by 2020, as well Advanced Placement test participation and math and science performance.

New Jersey ranks 11th as of one of the most innovative states in the nation. Analyst Jill Gonzalez says New Jersey does well in the human capital ranking and there is a good amount of STEM professionals in New Jersey — about 9 percent of all professionals.

She says there is a good demand for those jobs as well. Through 2020, we will probably see those STEM jobs grow almost two times the rate of other normal jobs.

Gonzalez says New Jersey can really step it up when it comes to innovation environment, adding that no New Jersey taxpayer is "a stranger to the fact that it's not the friendliest state, tax-wise. It has really amplified when it comes to corporations and small businesses."

But Gonzalez says she is confident New Jersey can crack the Top 10 list of innovative states because the Northeast is represented already. Massachusetts is the most innovative state followed by Maryland, Washington state, and the District of Columbia.

Mississippi is the least innovative state in the nation followed by Louisiana, West Virginia and Arkansas. Gonzalez says that's because there are not a lot of STEM professionals or graduates, or demand for them.


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