Forbes ranks three N.D. citiesGrand Forks is ranked the 45th “Best Place for Business and Careers” among small metropolitan areas, according to the listing by Forbes. Bismarck ranks 4th and Fargo 9th among the small metros, those with populations lower than 245,000, according to the list released this week. It examines 12 factors, including costs of doing business and living, job and income growth, educational attainment and projected economic growth.
By: By Kevin Bonham, Forum Communications Co. , The Jamestown Sun
Grand Forks is ranked the 45th “Best Place for Business and Careers” among small metropolitan areas, according to the listing by Forbes.
Bismarck ranks 4th and Fargo 9th among the small metros, those with populations lower than 245,000, according to the list released this week.
It examines 12 factors, including costs of doing business and living, job and income growth, educational attainment and projected economic growth. It also takes into account the number of top ranked universities in an area, the status of home mortgage environments, crime rates, cultural and recreational amenities and net migration patterns.
According to Forbes, the fact that 14 of the top 20 ranked cities are in the center of the United States is a potential indicator that companies may move inland to reduce the cost of doing business. Sioux Falls tops the list, while all 11 in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Montana are in the top 84 among the 184 ranked small metros.
That may not come as much of a surprise. Last fall, Forbes ranked North Dakota as the 7th best state for business. That ranking measured six categories for business — costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.
The state has a $1 billion budget surplus and its unemployment rate in February was 4.8 percent, the lowest in the nation. North Dakota now is the nation’s 4th largest oil producer.
Earlier this year, Beacon Hill Institute ranked North Dakota second in the nation on a key measure of economic health. The report ranks states on the basis of tax rates, crime rates, investment from overseas, K-12 academic achievement and strength in graduate science and engineering studies, among other measures.
Forbes Magazine Publisher Rich Karlgaard provided some perspective in a visit to the Red River Valley in May 2009.
The Bismarck native said the heartland doesn’t boom or bust as much in an economic bubble as urban areas do. He said leading companies have a one in three chance of falling out of favor with consumers, allowing entrepreneurs and small businesses to offer better value propositions.
“Urban coasts are really in bad shape,” he said at the time. “Housing prices cannot come down enough.”
In comparing the heartland to the urban coast, Karlgaard said the cost of living gap has broadened at a time when markets and information are readily available on the Internet. He said the heartland’s more favorable economy creates opportunity because consumers want to start spending again.
“An American coast dweller looks at Grand Forks and sees the sticks,” Karlgaard said, “while an international businessman sees opportunity, a chance to access lucrative American markets without the high cost of locating on the coasts.”
Grand Forks’ ranking among “Best Places for Business and Careers” actually slipped a bit from 2009, when it was ranked 30th. But Forbes said it’s common for rankings to move up or down a few spots from year to year, as conditions change.
Kevin Bonham is a reporter at the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, which is owned by
Forum Communications Co.