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Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. It is also home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Wisconsin state government and the University of Wisconsin–Madison remain the top two Madison employers. However, Madison's economy today is evolving from a government-based economy to a consumer services and high-tech base, particularly in the health, biotech and advertising sectors. Beginning in the early 1990s, the city experienced a steady economic boom and has been comparatively unaffected by recession. Much of the expansion has occurred on the city's south and west sides, but it has also affected the east side near the Interstate 39-90-94 interchange and along the northern shore of Lake Mendota. Underpinning the boom is the development of high-tech companies, many actively fostered by the UW–Madison working with local businesses and entrepreneurs to transfer the results of academic research into real-world applications, most notably bio-tech applications.

Many businesses are attracted to Madison's skill base, taking advantage of the area's high level of education. According to city-data.com, 48.2% of Madison's population over the age of 25 holds at least a bachelor's degree. Forbes magazine reported in 2004 that Madison has the highest percentage of individuals holding Ph.D.s in the United States. In 2005, Forbes listed the city as having the lowest unemployment in the nation: 2.5%, less than half the U.S. 2004 average. In 2006, the same magazine listed Madison as number 31 in the top 200 metro areas for "Best Places for Business and Careers." However, Forbes has named Madison in the top ten several times within the past decade.

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