Greensboro provides an interesting take on "location, location, location." The city, part of what's called the Piedmont Triad region, uses as a selling point that it's located within 650 miles of more than half of the U.S. population, a range that includes being between the hubs of New York and Miami.
Traditionally a town known for its textile and tobacco industries, Greensboro's economy has expanded into aviation and biotechnology, among other major sectors, with businesses attracted by reasonable labor costs and a low cost of living. It also has a good local talent pool with a workforce of more than 800,000 and 16 nearby colleges and universities.
The state of North Carolina has been helped with a push to lower tax rates: Corporate taxes went down to 5 percent last year, and personal income tax was decreased to 5.75 percent. Major companies expanding in the area include Caterpillar, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Deere-Hitachi, Honda Aircraft, Ralph Lauren and Volvo.
Population growth rate: 3.92 percent
Average hourly wages: $21.02
Unemployment rate: 5.9 percent
Cost of living: Low
Median population growth rate, all metro areas: 4.77 percent
Median average hourly wages, all metro areas: $23.77
Median unemployment rate, all metro areas: 5.1 percent