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Massachusetts third in economic survey

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(The Center Square) – Bolstered by a healthy array of high-tech businesses, Massachusetts recently netted a third-place ranking in a new study gauging states’ economies across the country.

Personal finance site WalletHub recently unveiled its latest report, 2023’s Best and Worst State Economies, and examined economic activity, health, and innovation potential against performance and strength.

The analysis, three years after the onset of COVID-19, comes as many states and industries remain in recovery mode because of the pandemic’s abrupt impact.

According to the report, WalletHub analysts ranked Massachusetts high for several reasons, including a metric looking at the highest share of high-tech jobs.

The report indicates that high-tech comprises 9.28% of Massachusetts’ economy. Arkansas, last in the report, attributes 2.3% of its economy to the sector.

In an exclusive interview with The Center Square, Christopher Carlozzi, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business’ Massachusetts chapter, said many state-based member companies are still struggling.

“Select industries in Massachusetts may be doing well, especially with the categories like innovation, but it is a far different story for smaller businesses in Massachusetts,” Carlozzi said. “They’re still dealing with the after-effects of the pandemic with inflation, labor shortages, and the supply chain disruption.”

There are several Massachusetts-specific issues impacting small business owners, Carlozzi said.

The $15 minimum wage has posed a challenge, Carlozzi said, as has the high rate of unemployment insurance contributions, ever-increasing health care costs, and continuously rising energy expenses.

“It’s extremely expensive to run a small business,” Carlozzi said. “While some of the larger industries – like technology and pharmaceuticals, which Massachusetts is known for – can operate at different levels, it can be overly expensive to operate or even open your doors when you’re a small, mainstream business.”

WalletHub’s report included commentary from academic and economic experts on the disparities in states’ economic performances.

Washington and Utah were the states that outpaced Massachusetts in the economic study, placing No. 1 and 2, respectively.

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