The U.S. continues its slow slog out of the Great Recession of the late 2000s. There are pockets of the U.S. thriving thanks to attractive workforces and reasonable business costs.
Forbes crunched the numbers on the 401 metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. to gauge the best and worst business climates. The result is our 17th annual list of the Best Places for Business and Careers.
Raleigh, N.C., is second this year after ranking first in 2014. The Raleigh-Cary metro area is a steady performer, ranking in the top three of our Best Places list for more than a dozen years. Migration into the area has been the eighth fastest in the U.S. over the past five years as people gravitate to the area with large employers like corporate giants BASF , Biogen, Cisco Systems CSCO -0.49%, Fidelity Investments ,GlaxoSmithKline , IBM IBM +1.05% and others. All have a large presence in Raleigh or the nearby Research Triangle Park. These employers benefit from business costs 15% below the national average and a labor force where 44% hold a college degree.
For this ranking we looked at the 200 largest metro areas by population in the U.S. We rated them on a dozen factors related to employment, costs (business and living), income growth, quality of life and the education of the labor force. Forbes used data from Moody’s Analytics.