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Triangle Area Cities Are Some of the Smartest Too

Cary is the smartest city in North Carolina and the seventh smartest community in the country, according to a new ranking from American City Business Journals, the parent company of the Triangle Business Journal.

ACBJ used U.S. Census data and a five-part formula to rate the brainpower of 269 communities across America.

Ann Arbor, Mich.; Cambridge, Mass.; and Berkeley, Calif., hold the top three places in the analysis of educational attainment in communities with more than 100,000 residents.

In North Carolina, Raleigh placed second (and No. 23 nationally), followed by Durham (No. 27) and Charlotte (No. 53). Click here to see how the rest of the big cities in the state rank.

Chapel Hill was ranked No. 4 in the country on a separate list of the smartest communities with populations between 50,000 and 99,999.

From the Triangle Business Journal

Bloomberg/Business Week Ranks Raleigh As the Number One City to Live In in America

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Based on such metrics as school performance, green space and cultural  amenities, Raleigh, N.C. ranks No. 1 in Businessweek.com’s first Best Cities  ranking

Ask  most people in which city they would most want to live and usually their answer  would be shaped by such realities as proximity to their jobs and what they can  afford. But suppose you could choose to live anywhere you wanted regardless of  cost? What if you could live in a city that offered a wealth of culture,  entertainment, good schools, low crime and plenty of green space? Many people  might opt for the obvious choices, such as New York or San Francisco, but,  great as they are, data reveals there are other cities that are even better.

Businessweek.com spent months working with data that would help us to identify  the best cities in the U.S. We looked at a range of positive metrics around  quality of life, counted up restaurants, evaluated school scores, and  considered the number of colleges and pro sports teams. All these factors and  more add up to a city that would seem to offer it all. When we began the  process we had no idea which cities would come out on top. The winner? Raleigh,  N.C.

Raleigh No. 1

To most  residents of Raleigh, it may not come as a surprise that their city earned the  title of America’s Best City. Raleigh shows the cultural graces that go along  with anchoring the so-called research triangle, home to North Carolina State  University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel  Hill. Among its many attributes the city sports 867 restaurants, 110 bars, and  51 museums, according to Onboard Informatics, as well as a thriving social  scene, good schools, and 12,512 park acres, equal to several times the green  space per capita in cities like New York and Los Angeles, according to the  Trust for Public Land. It also offers a great deal on nights and weekends–from  concerts and opera, to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and  college sports, to the 30,000-sq.-ft. State Farmers Market.

Raleigh  may have a population of only about 400,000 people and span about 144 square  miles, yet data show it still offers a lot, if only in a smaller package. True,  Raleigh may not be the center of the tech universe like San Francisco, a hub of  higher education like Boston or a vibrant 24-hour metropolis like New York, but  all these cities also offered high crime, a dearth of parks, poor public  education and other negative factors that weighed against them.

“We’ve  always said, you can find about every amenity that you want, even in a city of  our size,” says James Sauls, director of Raleigh Economic  Development, a partnership between the City of  Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

The  city has been home to an array of celebs including Olympic champion Kristi  Yamaguchi, Dexter star Michael C.  Hall, and singer Clay Aiken (whose dog  was even named Raleigh).

Better, Not Bigger

With  help from Bloomberg Rankings, Businessweek.com evaluated 100 of the country’s  largest cities based on 16 criteria including: the number of restaurants, bars,  and museums per capita; the number of colleges, libraries, and professional  sports teams; the income, poverty, unemployment, crime, and foreclosure rates; percent  of population with bachelor’s degrees or higher, public school performance,  park acres per 1,000 residents, and air quality. Greater weighting was placed  on recreational amenities such as parks, bars, restaurants, and museums per  capita, educational attainment, school performance, poverty, and air quality. As  living in great cities can be expensive, affordability was not taken into  account.

The  data for this ranking came from the U.S. Census BureauU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sperling’s BestPlaces, GreatSchools, Onboard InformaticsRealtyTrac, Bloomberg,  and the Trust for Public Land.

After  Raleigh, the next highest-ranked cities were Arlington, Va., Honolulu,  Scottsdale, and Irvine, Calif. Larger cities placed lower: New York was 14th,  while Los Angeles ranked 53rd and Chicago 75th. The highest-ranked city with a  population greater than one million was San Diego, at seventh place. Washington  D.C., which is 588,433 people large, came in sixth. Since some criteria were  evaluated on a per population basis, places did not necessarily score higher  for having a larger number of establishments or amenities.

At the  bottom of this ranking of 100 cities were Detroit; Stockton, Calif.; Akron,  Ohio; Laredo, Tex.; and Cleveland.

A Park With a City in It

Many  urbanites appreciate cities’ bustling streets and constant activity. Raleigh, though  active, is often described as “a park with a city in it,” according  to the city tourism site, and the downtown area has “an attractive pedestrian  mall where trees, fountains, and statuary create a shopping oasis,” as  described by the travel guide Frommer’s. With several colleges in the  area, it is also a young city and about one-fifth of the population are in  their 20s, compared to a national rate of 13.8 percent, show 2010 Census data.

“The  Raleigh area features a cluster of great universities, so education is part of  the culture of the community,” says Ford W. Bell, president of the American  Association of Museums. “Integral to this  culture are the region’s museums, rooted as they are in education and lifelong  learning.”

Most residents drive, though  Raleigh also has a public bus  system, including a free  bus service downtown.

High  quality of life combined with new and expanding business in the region has  attracted more residents to Raleigh, one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities:  the population in the metro area expanded by an estimated 12.2 percent from  2009 to 2010, according to economic and demographic data company Woods  & Poole Economics.

Growing Economy

The city’s largest employers are the state and public school  system, according to Raleigh Economic Development. Strong technology, defense  technology, biotechnology, and life sciences sectors and emerging clean tech  and smart grid industries have bolstered the local economy, says Sauls.

In the  weak economy, Raleigh’s unemployment rate increased to 7.6 percent in July 2011  from an annual average of 4.4 percent in 2008, BLS data indicate, but  joblessness in the city remains lower than the metro area, which reached 8.4 percent, and lower than the U.S. rate of 9.1 percent.

Even in  today’s tough environment, a number of Raleigh companies are expanding,  including software company Red Hat (NYSE: RHTNews),  which announced in January that it would add 540 jobs.  The company had looked at other cities, but as CEO  Jim Whitehurst told reporters, Raleigh offered the best overall package.

“It’s a combination of things: there’s a great university system here  so it’s easy to find qualified talent and it’s a great place to hire people. The  relative cost of living is low, the cost of real estate is dramatically lower  [than other cities], and the state is pro business,” says Whitehurst,  who moved to the area in 2008 from Atlanta. And with most of the benefits of a  major metropolitan area, he says, “It’s a wonderful lifestyle.”

The Best Cities in  America

Raleigh
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1. Raleigh

Population: 377,487
Mayor: Charles Meeker

Why it’s ranked: Taking more than a dozen data  points into account, Raleigh ranks as the best place to live in the U.S. The  city sports a high number of bars, restaurants, and cultural institutions as  well as a thriving social scene, great parks, and good schools. Raleigh shows  the cultural graces that go along with anchoring the so-called research  triangle, home to North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Of course, it’s also much more.  The city offers a great deal on nights and weekends, from concerts and opera to  the 30,000-sq.-ft. State Farmer’s Market. The data backs it up. North  Carolina’s state capitol is top in our book.

Duke Energy and Progress Energy are recognized for their Key Roles In Local Economic Development

Site Selection magazine has named its annual Top Utilities in Economic Development and both Charlotte-based Duke Energy Duke EnergyLatest from The Business JournalsDuke Energy, Progress Energy make ‘Top 10’ for economic developmentHalf of Progress’ jobs in Raleigh could goHalf Raleigh Progress jobs could goFollow this company                     and Raleigh-based Progress Energy Progress Energy Latest from The Business JournalsDuke Energy, Progress Energy make ‘Top 10’ for economic developmentHalf of Progress’ jobs in Raleigh could goHalf Raleigh Progress jobs could goFollow this company have made the list. The magazine says that utilities play a key role in the economic development efforts of cities and regions working to improve their local business climate.

NC Ranks 10th in the Nation for Long Term Economic Growth

North Carolina ranks 10th for long term economic growth over the past half-century, according to a study published Monday by American City Business JournalsScott Thomas.

The study analyzed U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data for disposable income – money earned minus income and property taxes.

North Carolina’s disposable income grew 7.92 percent, to more than $310 billion, between 1960 and 2010.

American City Business Journals is the parent company of Triangle Business Journal.

Read more: North Carolina ranks 10th in income growth over past 50 years | Triangle Business Journal

SAS Ranks 3rd in U.S. In Work-Life Balance

It’s nice to know that SAS continues to be a shining example of how to run a company. Where the focus on the bottom line and quarterly sales does not so overshadow everything else to the point of being obsessed with profits to the detriment of the average employee.  Check out this article from our friends at the Triangle Business Journal.

Maybe the American worker could use more bark (friendly, that is) and less bite at the office. Considering that Nestlé Purina Petcare was just ranked the best company when it comes to work-life balance as judged by Glassdoor’s latest survey, perhaps more companies should consider allowing their employees bring Fido to the office.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, also found that while 43 percent of employees who participated wish they had a better work-life balance, more than half (54 percent) said they’re handling the pressures of performing on the job and living their personal lives to a reasonable degree, even in the wake of the economic downturn and significant job reductions.

Read more: Survey: SAS ranked third in work-life balance | Triangle Business Journal

Durham Has The Highest Average Income in the South

Salaries are higher in Durham than anywhere else in the South.

That’s the finding of a study by The Business Journals, a division of Charlotte-based American City Business Journals, the parent company of Triangle Business Journal.

The Business Journals’ study found that the typical worker in the Durham metropolitan area – Durham, Orange, Chatham and Person counties – earned $50,480 in 2009, according to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The presence of two major universities (Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill) and a sizable research

sector have made Durham the wage leader throughout the South.

The Raleigh-Cary metropolitan statistical area – Wake, Johnston and Chatham counties – ranked No. 10 in the South with an average salary of $43,370.

Neck and neck as runners-up to Durham are the Huntsville, Ala., metropolitan area and the Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, metro division. (A division is a subset of a major metro area.) Their respective annual averages are $46,220 and $46,110 per worker.

The Business Journals broke down U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data to isolate the pay levels for 772 occupations in 140 Southern metros. Click here to access the full report and a searchable database of all of that information.

Here are the 10 highest paying metropolitan areas in the South.

  1. Durham, N.C., $50,480
  2. Huntsville, Ala., $46,220
  3. Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, $46,110
  4. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga., $45,520
  5. Austin-Round Rock, Texas, $45,180
  6. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, $44,880
  7. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C., $43,890
  8. Richmond, Va., $43,740
  • Charlottesville, Va., $43,660
  • Raleigh-Cary, N.C., $43,370
  • A Employment Website Is Offering Free Job Postings Till the NC Unemployment Rate Hits 6%

    Employers need to find qualified workers and there are plenty of workers looking for new job opportunities. This web link will take both to a site where employers can now post job openings for FREE until the NC jobless rate hits 6 percent.

    Free Job Posting at http://openlink.linkingRaleighNC.com until North Carolina unemployment drops below 6%

    If all companies do what they can to help us through these tough times we’ll get through them quicker and with less pain.

    North Carolina ranks 14th in solar jobs – Triangle Business Journal

    With more and more builders going Energy Star and Green solar energy becomes more and more important to them. And not just residential builders but commercial builders as well. This article shows that North Carolina is an important state when it comes the the Solar Energy industry in terms of jobs associated with the production and installation of solar energy products and systems. This is somewhat surprising simply because you don’t think of NC being a major “Solar” state like those in the far west. But a combination of factors such as our major universities and RTP based companies provide a great environment for generating new jobs in this growing field.

    North Carolina ranks 14th in solar jobs – Triangle Business Journal.

    Cary and Chapel Hill Are Two Top Small Cities in America According to Money Magazine

    The most recent issue of Money Magazine ranks both Cary and Chapel Hill as two of the top 50 small cities in America due to a combination of factors that make both cities attractive to both current residents and new ones. For more information visit this online story provided by The Triangle Business Journal’s parent website.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/stories/2010/07/12/daily9.html?ana=e_du_pap.