The magazine cited local business costs that are 14 percent below the national average and the educated work force in the Triangle – 38 percent of adults possess a college degree, including 12 percent with a graduate degree.
But Forbes noted that Raleigh's "secret is out," with the nation's seventh-fastest growth rate.
Boise, Idaho, placed second on the Forbes list, followed by Fort Collins, Colo.; Des Moines, Iowa; and Lexington, Ky.; Atlanta; Richmond, Va.; Olympia and Spokane, Wash.; and Knoxville, Tenn., rounded out the Top 10.
Greenville ranked No. 8 on the magazine's list of "Best Small Metros for Business."