Business

The best place for business and careers? Not California, says Forbes

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Another strike against California when it comes to hosting businesses and boosting careers: A list ranking the country's 200 largest metropolitan areas on those scores doesn't have a lot of good news for the Golden State.

Half of the bottom 10 cities are from California, according to the list from Forbes. Newly bankrupt Stockton is ranked 196; Merced is 199th. Modesto, with its 17.7% unemployment rate, is dead last.

The highest-ranked California city is San Francisco, the only community in the state to make it into the top 25 in seven years. The Bay Area city has a strong job and economic outlook, according to Forbes, and nearly half of its population has a college degree.

Those qualities helped San Francisco place 23rd, even though its living costs are -- at 54% above the U.S. average -- the highest in the country.  

New England cities were also generally low-ranked. The region, like California, struggles with a bad reputation in the business community, with an image of layers of bureaucratic red tape.

Instead, according to Forbes, the American heartland is the best place for companies and employees, based on factors including income growth, worker education, quality of life and more.

The top-ranked city? Provo, Utah, whose $16-billion economy is driven by start-up generator Brigham Young University, the third-best job-growth rate in the country and the lowest rate of violent crime in the U.S.

Raleigh, N.C., fell a spot to second place as its living costs rose, Forbes said, but doing business in the city is still 18% less expensive than the national average. With schools such as Duke University and the University of North Carolina, the workforce is extremely educated.

Texas, which has consistently placed at or near the top of similar studies about the business environment, has five cities in the top 25 of Forbes' list. Dallas, with more billionaires than any other U.S. city except New York and San Francisco, is ranked 8th.

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