Every year, CNBC comes out with its list of the 50 states and their ratings on what state is best for businesses. The 2016 list has yet to come out, and the 2015 list was posted in May of this year, making it somewhat outdated. CNBC.com keeps their choices for the new year a closely guarded secret. So how can we get a glimpse of what states are going to be the top winners in 2016? Well, luckily, Forbes.com has recently updated their competing 2015 state list this October of the best business friendly states, giving us a preview of the next lucky states to most likely be named as the top states to run a small company or a major corporation from. Listed below are Forbes’ updated top five business-friendly states, and the numerous reasons why they made it to the top of its yearly list.

business friendly

1 – Utah
The Beehive state has climbed to the top of the list as of Oct, 21st, of 2015. Utah’s Gross State Product totals are 141 Billion dollars. Job Growth in 2015 was 3.8%, and the cost of doing business in the state was ten percent below the national average. The state has a 31.1% college attainment rate, with a net migration of 4,200 potential workers reported in 2014. All these add up to the state’s great business community potential. Utah’s population is a modest 2,963,000, and the average median household income stated was a mid-range $61,716, according to Forbes.

Utah was also at, or near the top of Forbes list in:

  • Growth Prospects – #1
  • Labor Supply – #3
  • Business Costs – #5
  • Economic Climate – #6
  • Regulatory Environment – #6

2 – North Carolina

The Tar Heel state has landed second in the new Forbes October update. North Carolina’s Gross State Product totals were 483 Billion dollars, making it attractive for manufacturers, and agriculture. A state with almost 500 Billion in products to move intentionally has efficient commerce HUBs in place out of economic necessity, and North Carolina is no exception. The projected annual growth in jobs was at 2.1%. The cost of doing business in the state was also at ten percent below the national average. The college attainment rate in the state is 28.7%. Net migration was a busy 57,400 in 2014 as the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.4% this year, compared to almost 10% in the Great Recession. North Carolina’s population is over triple the size of Utah’s, at 9,992,000, and the average median household income of its residents is somewhat low, at $46,896.

North Carolina was also at, or near the top of Forbes list in:

  • Growth Prospects – #10
  • Labor Supply – #9
  • Business Costs – #5
  • Economic Climate – #22
  • Regulatory Environment – #4

3 – Nebraska

The Cornhusker state has taken third place. Nebraska’s Gross State Product is a steady $112 Billion. Projected annual job growth is slow, at 1.4%. The cost of doing business in the state is 7.2% below the national average. The college attainment rate in the state is 29.5%. Net migration was very low at 1,300. Omaha stands as Nebraska’s largest city and economic center. The state is also home to the Agra-Giant ConAgra. Nebraska’s population is very low, at 1,887,600, and the average median household income of its residents, is not great, but adequate, at $51,665. Nebraska’s unemployment rate is actually the lowest in the United States, at 2.6% in 2015.

Nebraska was also at, or near the top of Forbes list in:

  • Growth Prospects – #30
  • Labor Supply – #19
  • Business Costs – #9
  • Economic Climate – #13
  • Regulatory Environment – #3

4 – North Dakota

The Mount Rushmore state is in fourth place on the Forbes list. North Dakota’s Gross State Product is 55 billion. The state’s gross state product growth is an encouraging 8.6%. The cost of doing business in the state is 4.8% below the national average. The college attainment rate in the state is 27.4%. Net migration was a substantial 10,300. North Dakota’s population is very low, at 744,600, and the average median household income of its residents, is not great, but adequate, at $57,181. The state is known for its thriving technology and service sectors. And the state’s unemployment rate is an average 3.2%.

North Dakota was also at, or near the top of Forbes list in:

  • Growth Prospects – #36
  • Labor Supply – #6
  • Business Costs – #13
  • Economic Climate – #3
  • Regulatory Environment – #10

5 – Colorado

This state’s nickname is most likely changing to the “Weed State,” giving “Rocky Mountain High” a new meaning. Colorado comes in last on our list, and fifth on Forbes.’ The state’s Gross State Product is a prosperous 307 billion. Projected Annual Job Growth is 2%. Colorado is a well-educated state and its college attainment rate is an impressive 38.4%. The cost of doing business in the state is 4.3% above the national average, making it a costly state. Colorado’s population is 5,397,200, The average median household income is a comfortable $61,011. The state is a popular one, with a net migration rate of 51,000. As reported by Forbes, Colorado is the only modified right-to-work state in the United States, and its hybrid labor law, fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, makes the Mountain High state very union-unfriendly.

Colorado was also at, or near the top of Forbes list in:

  • Growth Prospects – #6
  • Labor Supply – #1
  • Business Costs – #39
  • Economic Climate – #4
  • Regulatory Environment – #12