Raleigh Tops Forbes' 'Best Places for Business, Careers' List

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-03-27 Print this article Print

North Carolina has a whole lot more than really good college basketball going for it (sorry, Duke, UNC is still in the tournament).

Forbes.com has placed Raleigh, N.C., as the city with the most upside for businesses and job growth potential in the United States that happens to boast a very large technology presence and low crime rate, with a whole host of other cities in North Carolina making the list, including Durham (No. 3), Asheville (No. 6), Wilmington (No. 13), Winston-Salem (No. 18) and Charlotte (No. 19). Evidently, this is the third time in a row that Raleigh has topped this list.

Here's a bit more background from the Forbes article about Raleigh:

Leading the way is Raleigh, N.C., which grabbed the top spot for a third straight year on the strength of strong job growth (both past and projected), low business costs and a highly educated workforce.

Employment is expected to fall during 2009 in Raleigh after jobs were added at a 4% annual clip the past five years. But the job picture is expected to brighten in 2010 and 2011, and the three-year projected annual employment gain is 1.4%, according to Moody's Economy.com, 15th best in the country.

Helping fuel Raleigh's strong economy is the Research Triangle Park, one of the oldest and largest science parks in North America. It is located between Raleigh and Durham and is home to 170 companies employing 42,000 people. Big employers include Biogen Idec, Cisco Systems and IBM.

However, with the recent news of IBM layoffs and the general malaise of the recession, it isn't difficult to imagine some jobs in that area shrinking.

One city that had a big move up on the list this year is Austin, Texas, for its combination of business-friendliness and lower exposure to subprime mortgages--which was a new factor added to this year's list. Most of the cities in California, understandably, fell from grace on the list because of the high cost of living, business climate and exposure to subprime mortgages.

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