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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | HEARD ON THE BEAT / SMALL BUSINESS

County Moves Up on Forbes List of the Best Places to Do Business

May 31, 2000|Marc Ballon | Marc Ballon covers small business and entrepreneurial issues for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-7439 and at marc.ballon@latimes.com

With unemployment low and ingenuity high, Orange County has been named by Forbes magazine as the seventh-best place in the nation to do business. The region placed ahead of 193 large metro areas across the country, including Seattle, Charlotte, N.C., and San Jose.

Regions were graded on wage and salary growth, job growth and, to a lesser extent, high-tech growth.

"Orange County is one of the best places in America for people and companies participating in the growth economy," said Forbes editor Tim Ferguson, who oversaw the survey.

The county placed second, along with San Diego and San Jose, in the "breadth of technology" category, with 10 identifiable high-tech sectors, including medical devices, drugs and electronic components and accessories, he said. Only Boston fared better.

However, Orange County might have difficulty maintaining its high ranking because of its tight labor market, rising housing prices and worsening commuting situation, Ferguson said.

Austin topped the Forbes list. Only two California areas, Santa Rosa and San Diego, fared better than Orange County. Last year, the county ranked 11th in the survey.

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