North Carolina is now the nation’s top state to do business, according to Forbes’ high-profile Best States for Business ranking.
While North Carolina is the only state to appear among the top five states for 12 straight years since the magazine launched the list, this year is the first time the state has occupied the top spot. Forbes ranked North Carolina No. 2 last year.
Over the past two decades, Forbes said, North Carolina has developed one of the nation’s best state business climates, supported by its low costs of doing business and a young and educated workforce. The state’s strong universities and resources such as Research Triangle Park have helped train that labor pool, the magazine said.
North Carolina also boasts one of the highest annual rates of in-migration among all states, Forbes said.
Frank Emory Jr., chairman of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) Board of Directors, said recognition in third-party rankings the caliber of Forbes helps the state market itself to companies considering the best place to locate or expand.
“This year has been a good one for the state, in terms of such rankings,” Emory said. “Not only is North Carolina Forbes’ top state for business, we’re Site Selection magazine’s most competitive state for attracting new plants and its No. 2 state for best business climate. In addition, Chief Executive lists North Carolina as the third-best state for business, and CNBC ranks it fifth-best.”
Forbes’ list assesses states based on their business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. This year, North Carolina is the only state to place among the top 20 states in all six categories, according to the magazine.
North Carolina jumped to the top spot in this year’s ranking because of its improved employment outlook and second-lowest business costs (covering labor, energy and taxes), Forbes said.
Following North Carolina among the top 5 on Forbes’ Best States for Business 2017 are Texas, Utah, Nebraska and Virginia.