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North Dakota moves up on Forbes’ business climate listing

Driven in large part by the Bakken oil play, North Dakota ascended to another lofty perch on a business climate ranking list last week.

Building on a trend that has put the Peace Garden State in the forefront of business activity and development in recent years, North Dakota is listed as the third-best U.S. state for business and careers in 2012, according to business magazine Forbes’ rankings, which were released last week.

“This study from Forbes is more evidence that our hard work in the state is getting results,” said state Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson. “Rankings like this help our state draw attention from companies that may be interested in doing business in North Dakota. It’s an opportunity for them to get a look at the resources we can offer.”

The Forbes ranking measured six categories for businesses, including costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. Utah finished first on the list and was trailed by Virginia. North Dakota moved up one spot from its 2011 ranking.

North Dakota finished second only to another energy-leading state — Texas — in the area of economic climate.

“North Dakota is a great place to do business right now,” said Dickinson Chamber of Commerce executive director Cooper Whitman. “I know this sounds crazy, but I continue to say it — western North Dakota is home to the most dynamic business climate in the world right now.”

Rounding out the top 10 on the overall Forbes list are North Carolina at No. 4, followed by Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma and Iowa. Besides top-ranked Utah, North Dakota was the only other state to finish in the top 20 in all six vital categories.

North Dakota’s lowest-ranking came in the category of quality of life (it finished 19th), which was still in the top 50 percent of all states.

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