FILE - Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina, skyline

For the second consecutive year, North Carolina was named the best state for business by one of America’s top business magazines.

Forbes magazine picked the Tar Heel State as the overall No. 1 place in 2019 to do business in its latest ranking. 

North Carolina also earned the top position in 2018 and has been in the top five for 13 consecutive years.

“Gov. [Roy] Cooper’s focus on education and workforce development has given business executives the confidence that North Carolina can provide the talent companies need to be successful in their markets,” North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland said in an email to The Center Square. “North Carolina offers many competitive advantages as a business location, and we appreciate that another national publication has recognized these strengths.”

All 50 states were evaluated based on business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

North Carolina secured the top position for its pro-business regulatory environment but also ranked in the top 10 for its lower business costs and quality labor supply. 

The state is currently headquarters to 28 Fortune 500 companies. North Carolina has the fifth largest manufacturing economy in the nation with manufacturers contributing $104.9 billion to the gross domestic product.

Its major industries include aviation, automotive, agriculture,  banking, information technology and textiles.

More than 61 percent of North Carolina’s population is part of the labor force, according to the U.S. Census Bureau of Statistics.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce often boasts about the state's high quality workers and college graduates, who enter into the state’s work pool.

The state is home to Duke University, which was selected as the No. 3 college nationwide and No.1 in the Southeast, according to

It also has the fourth-largest active-duty military population in the U.S.

The cost of setting up business fares better than most other places.

The state’s corporate income tax rate is the lowest at 2.5 percent, according to the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Copeland said Friday he is mostly proud of North Carolina's budding workforce.

“Low business costs, reasonable regulations and our great quality of life attract many people to our state,” Copeland said. “But we know companies first consider a business location’s ability to provide a qualified workforce, and this ranking reflects this truth most of all.”


Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.