Forbes: Raleigh, Durham rank among top 10 cities for business and careers
Raleigh and Durham both rank in the top 10 of Forbes’ 2013 list of “Best Places for Business and Careers,” which considers 12 metrics, including job growth, costs and income growth over the past five years.
Both cities ranked highly thanks in large part to the universities which provide a strong workforce, according to Forbes. The ranking also puts a heavy emphasis on education. As Jerry Szatan, a site-selection consultant based in Chicago says in the methodology, “Education measures are always good. One of the fundamental building blocks in economic development is smart people.”
However, some North Carolina leaders fear this state’s cities will slip if public education sees more cuts.
Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, has long supported public funding for education and criticized the N.C. General Assembly this year for cutting nearly half a billion dollars from education.
“Education is a top priority. Our children need quality schools, and those schools need resources to help them succeed,” she wrote in a letter to legislators. “We can’t balance the budget on the backs of students and teachers.”
Ranked against other states, per-pupil spending in North Carolina ranks ahead of only four states, according to the The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which compiled data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Per-pupil spending in North Carolina has decreased every year since 2007-08 from $8,180 that year, to $7,972 in 2011-12. The state’s contribution in that time period decreased from $5,651 to $5,357.
Interestingly, public spending on the University of North Carolina system ranks as one of the highest in the nation, a main reason tuition is so low here.
Progressive groups, like the N.C. Justice Center, echoed Hagan’s sentiment. “Building a strong economy means building a workforce that is ready to tackle 21st Century challenges and able to meet the needs of competitive businesses - which requires adequate investments in education,” wrote Alexandra Forter Sirota, the NCJC’s budget analyst. “This (education spending) gap will result in fewer teachers and assistants in more crowded classrooms, stagnate wages for low-paid teachers, and ever-increasing tuition rates for students and their families.”
Charlotte ranked 19th on the list. Des Moines, Iowa, ranked No. 1.