News & Media

North Carolina Named No. 1 Among ‘America’s Top States for Business’ by CNBC for Second Straight Year

From   –  Associate Editor, Charlotte Business Journal

North Carolina remains on top for a second consecutive year in CNBC’s closely watched ranking of “America’s Top States for Business.”

The state ranked No. 1 for the first time ever last year — though it had long been a strong contender, rarely placing outside the top 10. It stayed in that spot in the ranking released this morning, with the news outlet citing “a world-class workforce and a booming economy.”

Josh Wright with labor market analytics firm Lightcast, which provided some of the data for CNBC’s study, said the state is a leader in attracting and retaining talent across a range of industries.

“Charlotte is seeing a lot of growth in the financial sector,” he said, per CNBC’s article on the results. “But it’s not just a one-trick pony. You’ve got the Raleigh-Durham area. You’ve got massive, major, internationally well-known universities driving growth.”

Meanwhile, the state’s community college system contributes to its strength in career education.

However, the political climate threatens to weaken its position. For example, CNBC considered reproductive rights among the metrics for scoring on life, health and inclusion, and Republican lawmakers’ passing of abortion restrictions — overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto — hurt the state in that area.

Virginia came in at No. 2 in the 2023 ranking, followed by Tennessee, Georgia and Minnesota, respectively. Texas fell out of the top five for the first time ever, landing at No. 6, while New Jersey — jumping 23 spots to No. 19 this year — took the distinction of “Most Improved State.”

At the bottom of the ranking is Alaska at No. 50, with Louisiana at No. 49 and Mississippi at No. 48.

South Carolina came in at No. 27.

To determine its rankings, CNBC factored in metrics across 10 categories, listed here in order of their weight: workforce; infrastructure; economy; life, health and inclusion; cost of doing business; technology and innovation; business friendliness; education; access to capital; and cost of living.

North Carolina received a total score of 1,628 out of a possible 2,500 points.