In 2011, we began tracking a discrete set of metrics that speak to the heart of what constitutes a world class state – innovation, quality education, efficient transportation, and a healthy business climate.  We utilize independent 50-state data to assess Washington’s ranking in 13 categories and understand opportunities for improvement. Our goal: Make Washington a top 10 state for quality for life and innovation and ensure it is not among the 10 most expensive states in which to do business.

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    • 39

      Washington awards fewer bachelor's degrees per capita at its public and private institutions than all but 11 states.

      Previous year's ranking: 38

      40

      76.4% of Washington’s high school class of 2013 graduated on time. The state’s high school graduation rate has fallen in comparison to other states and is close to ranking among the bottom 10 states.

      Previous year's ranking: 32

      18

      36% of Washington’s 8th graders scored at or above proficient on the nation’s science exam. Proficiency in science is a key predictor of success in inquiry-based thinking. Raising achievement will help students excel in college and work.

      Previous year's ranking: 18

      42% of Washington’s 8th graders scored at or above proficient on the nation’s math exam in 2013, positioning Washington among the top 10 states.

      Previous year's ranking: 12

      31

      21.1% of bridges in Washington state are functionally obsolete. These bridges represent choke points that impair safety and mobility. Improving Washington’s ranking will improve those factors, support commerce and encourage economic growth.

      Previous year's ranking: 41

      38

      The average commute time statewide is 26 minutes. The commute along the I-5 corridor is particularly congested. According to the Texas Transportation Institute's 2012 mobility report, commuters in the Seattle urban area lost 48 hours to traffic delays and congestion in 2011.

      Previous year's ranking: 38

      39

      39th in the nation based on the percentage of roads deemed to be in “good” or “very good” by the Federal Highway Administration in 2013.

      Previous year's ranking: 36

    • 04

      Washington continues to experience solid private sector job growth, ranking near the top of all states for growth in private sector jobs from July 2014 to July 2015.

      Previous year's ranking: 13

      Washington is a national leader in patent generation, a symbol of innovation and leading indicator of economic potential. Inventors in Washington received 6,448 utility patents in 2014.

      Previous year's ranking: 5

    • Washington ranks 1st in the nation (2013 data) with a rate of 6.29 cents per kilowatt-hour. The state’s five-year average price of 6.08 cents per kilowatt-hour remains well below the national average of 8.85 cents and ranks best overall.

      Previous year's ranking: 1

      Washington ranks 32nd among the states based on the lowest business tax burden as a share of private sector GSP (5% in FY 2013). Improving this ranking encourages job creation and investment.

      Previous year's ranking: 36

      44

      Washington’s average rate per full time employee ($732 for 2013) is far higher than the national average ($456). High unemployment taxes contribute to high business costs and discourage job creation and investment.

      Previous year's ranking: 41

      50

      Washington is the most expensive state in the nation for workers’ compensation benefits paid per covered worker. In 2013, Washington provided an average of $826.94 per covered worker.

      Previous year's ranking: 50

    • What are the Benchmarks for a Better Washington?

      The Benchmarks for a Better Washington are a set of 13 metrics that speak to the heart of what constitutes a world class state – a climate of innovation, quality education, safe and efficient transportation networks, and a healthy business environment. The benchmarks utilize clear, independent, 50-state data to assess Washington’s position and draw attention to opportunities for improvement.

      What are the specific benchmarks?

      The Benchmarks track 13 performance measures, including:

      1. Private-sector job growth
      2. Number of patents issued for invention
      3. High-school graduation rates
      4. Student achievement in math (8th grade)
      5. Student achievement in science (8th grade)
      6. Bachelor’s degrees awarded per capita
      7. Bridge bridges
      8. Road conditions
      9. Average commute travel times
      10. Business tax burden as a percent of gross state product
      11. Unemployment insurance taxes
      12. Workers’ compensation benefits paid
      13. Industrial and commercial electricity rates

      How were the benchmarks selected?

      The number of benchmarks is intentionally limited to focus on those areas that the Roundtable deems most important to our vision of making Washington a leader for quality of life and innovation with a healthy business environment. Each benchmark must be measurable via a recognized, reliable, independent source that includes comparative data for all 50 states.

      How is the Washington Roundtable working to achieve these goals?

      We are engaged in an ongoing, balanced and comprehensive strategy to achieve these goals. This includes a commitment to pursuing necessary policy changes and measuring progress.

View and share the Benchmarks for a Better Washington! These metrics speak to the heart of what constitutes a world class state – a climate of innovation, quality education, safe and efficient transportation networks, and a healthy business environment.

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