North Carolina came in first place in Forbes’ Best States for Business 2017. In prior years, only Utah and Virginia had enjoyed the title. While North Carolina has never come in first before, it is the only state to rank in the top five every year for the last 12 years. It was also the only state to rank in the top 20 in the analysis’ six categories: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects, and quality of life. Celebrated features included low costs of doing business, government incentives, a young and educated workforce, and a great university system. The state ranked second last year, but this year’s ratings improved due to upgraded prospects for employment and relatively low utility and tax rates. Among highlighted achievements were the recruitment of the NBA’s 2019 All-Star Game and the expansion of Credit Suisse, the latter promising to create 1,200 jobs paying on average more than $100,000. Also working in the state’s favor was the low level of unionization, which kept labor costs 10% below the national average.