Forbes Magazine – Our 16th annual ranking of the Best Places for Business and Careers looks at the 200 largest metropolitan statistical areas and divisions in the U.S. We consider 12 metrics relating to job growth (1-year, 5-year and projected 3-year), costs (business and living), income growth over the past five years, educational attainment (college and high school) and projected economic growth through 2016. We also factor in net migration patterns over the past five years, as well as cultural and recreational opportunities. Lastly we included the number of highly ranked colleges in an area per our annual college rankings. We give the most weighting to business costs and educational attainment in the overall ranking.

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Rank Metro Area Cost of Business Rank Job Growth Rank Education Rank Population
1

Fargo, ND

60 4 15 219,400
2

College Station, TX

22 8 17 238,500
3

Mankato, MN

27 59 20 98,900
4

Logan, UT

1 30 19 131,300
5

Sioux Falls, SD

30 15 39 243,900
6

Columbia, MO

32 9 5 180,900
7

Palm Coast, FL

55 10 77 100,800
8

Dubuque, IA

70 13 40 95,500
9

Lafayette, IN

46 36 27 209,100
10

Auburn, AL

56 14 23 151,300
11

Corvallis, OR

35 67 1 87,600