Jason E. Miczek / AP Images for Siemens/File
Fourth-ranked North Carolina is often a contender, thanks in large part to its well-educated workforce. This year, more of those workers are available. It’s a silver lining to a jobs crisis that has disproportionately affected the Tarheel State, where unemployment is considerably higher than the national average. North Carolina slipped one spot from a number three ranking in 2011.