Provo, Raleigh ranked as best U.S. business cities

Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:39pm EDT
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By Joseph O'Leary

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Provo, Utah, the home of Brigham Young University, displaced Raleigh, North Carolina, as the best U.S. city for business in a new ranking released on Wednesday.

The third-largest city in Utah, located about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, topped the list thanks to its robust job growth and low crime rate.

"Provo had job growth of 3 percent in 2011, which was third in the United States, and they ranked tenth-lowest in crime," said Mike Ozanian, an executive editor at Forbes.

"Brigham Young University provides a stabilizing presence to their economy," he added.

The university is the third-largest private college by enrollment in the United States, and had 13 start-up businesses in 2010, behind only the University of Utah and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Raleigh, N.C. was ranked second in the list, with a rapidly growing population driven by projected job growth of 2.9 percent, Ozanian said.

It had been among the top three metro areas on the annual ranking since 2003 and fell from No. 1 spot because living costs rose to 5 percent above the national average.

Nearby schools including Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina provide a highly educated workforce.   Continued...

A student walks past the entrance of Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo February 16, 2012. U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney graduated from BYU in 1971. REUTERS/George Frey