Jul 11, 2023 - Business

North Carolina ranks top state for business for the second year in a row

The state Capitol building in downtown Raleigh. Photo: LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images

North Carolina for the second year in a row landed the No. 1 spot in CNBC's annual ranking of the best states for business.

Driving the news: CNBC said the Tar Heel State's strong workforce, which is attracting talent and transplants across a range of industries, helped it stand out.

  • In addition to workforce, CNBC ranked states on metrics like infrastructure and cost of doing business, with North Carolina having one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country.
  • The business publication also noted that the state's Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and Republican legislators have worked together to land large investments from companies — like Apple, Wolfspeed and Toyota — in recent years.

Why it matters: The ranking will be a bragging point for politicians on each side of the aisle as well as for economic developers, who will be sure to cite it in the state's aggressive recruitment efforts.

What they're saying: "Companies in desperate need of skilled workers are going where the people are, and people are going to North Carolina," CNBC special correspondent Scott Cohn said. "The state's well-balanced economy is handling the growth well."

Yes, but: Rising political tensions could hurt the state's business climate, Cohn said, with Cooper's veto power now weakened thanks to state Rep. Tricia Cotham changing her political affiliation from Democrat to Republican.

  • In a live interview on CNBC, Cooper said fighting culture wars will deteriorate a state's business climate.
  • "We are not here to fight Mickey Mouse. We are here to fight for jobs," Cooper said on CNBC.
  • "You still see people going to Florida and Texas," he added, "but you begin to see deterioration over time. Site selectors will tell you these issues matter when it comes time for businesses to make tough decisions."
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