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Raleigh Skyline

Raleigh Leads The Best Places For Business And Careers 2014

Kurt Badenhausen                              

Forbes Staff

The U.S. economic recovery has been an uneven one. Overall, the recent numbers look great. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced U.S. employers added 288,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate fell to 6.1%, the lowest it has been since the financial crisis peaked in the fall of 2008. A total of 1.4 million jobs were added in the past six months, which marks the best showing since 2006. The stock market has continued its meteoric rise, with the Dow Jones topping 17,000 for the first time on the news.

But the news is not great everywhere. Unemployment remains stubbornly high in some areas, with a dozen metro areas still mired in double-digit unemployment — dozens more if you include the underemployed. Income growth has been almost nonexistent over the past five years, with more than half of the metropolitan areas in the U.S. showing negative real income growth.

Forbes crunched the numbers on every metro area to figure who has the best and worst business climates. The result is our 16th annual look at the Best Places for Business and Careers.

Raleigh, N.C., ranks first this year, moving up from third in 2013. The North Carolina capital previously ranked first in 2011 and had a three-year run in the top spot from 2007 to 2009. It is the only East Coast city that made the top 10.

Fueling Raleigh’s consistent results are business costs that are 18% below the national average, and an adult population where 42% have a college degree, the 12th best rate in the U.S. (30% is the national average). Raleigh is home to North Carolina State University and nearby schools include Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The area’s appeal has led to a strong inflow of new residents to the city, which boasts the sixth fastest net migration rate over the past five years…..


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