Forbes: North Carolina No. 2 best state for business, careers

North Carolina rises on Forbes’ list of best states for business and careers this year, with the state taking over the No. 2 spot.

North Carolina trails only Utah, which held onto No. 1 for the second consecutive year.

​North Carolina rise up Forbes’ list of best states for business and careers continued this year, with the state taking over the No. 2 spot.

In 2014, North Carolina was ranked No. 3, having moved up from the No. 4 spot it held the prior year. In this year’s list, North Carolina leapfrogged North Dakota, which went from No. 2 to No. 4.

Forbes notes North Carolina is the only one to appear in the top five every year of the Best States study.


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North Carolina drew high marks for attracting more new facilities and expansions in 2014 than any other state, including Novo Nordisk’s $1 billion investment in its Johnston County facility and Interactive Intelligence’s plans to create 200 new jobs in Durham.

“Both companies cited the benefits of the Research Triangle Park area with its wealth of technical talent and strong universities,” Forbes says.

Forbes assembles the list each year based on its assessment of each state on business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. Business costs, which include labor, energy and taxes, are weighted more heavily than the other categories, Forbes says.

This year’s list included several new criteria, including the number of millennials as a percent of population.

Among the top 10 states on this year’s list, the majority are led by Republican governors. Only Colorado, No. 5; Virginia, No. 7; and Washington, No. 10, are led by Democrats.

The 10 best states are as follows:


North Carolina


North Dakota





South Dakota


The 10 worst states, according to Forbes:

West Virginia



New Mexico

Rhode Island





New Jersey