07/13/2016

North Carolina has jumped four slots to become the nation’s fifth-best state for business in 2016, according to a closely watched CNBC ranking.

Last year, the state placed ninth in the national study conducted by CNBC, the business news television channel of the NBC network. CNBC’s latest ranking notes North Carolina’s “obvious business advantages, including a solid workforce and a heritage of innovation.”

Utah, Texas, Colorado and Minnesota round out CNBC’s top five in 2016.

businessThe overall ranking measures performance in 10 categories ‒ the cost of doing businesses, access to capital, business friendliness, quality of life, cost of living, infrastructure, economy, education, technology and innovation, and workforce. CNBC stresses its study is not an opinion survey but rather an analysis of more than 60 measures of competitive performance.

North Carolina’s highest-ranked category remains access to capital, where it is No. 2 this year vs. No. 1 last year. The category measures venture capital investments as well as small-business lending.

North Carolina’s next best category is technology and innovation, where the state grabs seventh place, up from tenth in 2015. The ranking considers measures of research grants, patents, tech-based business formation and more. CNBC specifically notes the rise of clean technology – including smart electricity grids, advanced water systems and alternative energy – in North Carolina’s renowned Research Triangle region, where roughly 350 cleantech companies operate.

The state rises to ninth from 16th last year for its workforce, a category that assesses factors including the state’s workforce education level, number of available employees, ability to retain college-educated workers, and workforce productivity based on economic output per job. Workforce is the most heavily weighted factor considered in the CNBC rankings.

Another important consideration in the rankings is a state’s overall economy. CNBC’s rankings consider varied factors such as a state’s economic growth, job creation, consumer spending, residential real estate market, credit ratings and overall budget picture. North Carolina’s economy is ranked 11th overall.

CNBC happened to release its latest rankings on the same day the governor’s office announced that North Carolina is currently projecting a revenue surplus of $425 million.

“At a time when neighboring states are revealing steep revenue deficits, North Carolina’s economy is firing on all cylinders,” Gov. Pat McCrory said.

Visit CNBC’s website for more about its best states for business rankings.