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An array of outdoor dining options tempts lunchtime crowds on Library Mall in Madison. The capital city is one of the best places for young professionals to thrive, according to Forbes magazine.

We’re third best in the nation, according to Forbes magazine.

And that’s pretty good, given the need for young talent and fresh ideas in the changing, knowledge-based economy.

Forbes just ranked Madison the third best city for young professionals. The magazine touted the Madison region’s healthy job growth projections, low unemployment, large college-educated population and reasonable cost of living — “ensuring their young residents’ relatively high salaries go even further.”

The Madison area has one small business for every 48 residents, and one large business for every 689, according to the magazine.

“Madison’s economy today is evolving from a government-based economy to a consumer services and high-tech base, particularly in the health, biotech and advertising sectors,” Forbes writes in its latest edition.

And, of course, Madison is a lot of fun. The magazine touts the “cultural focal point” of State Street, popular events such as the Great Taste of the Midwest craft beer festival, and outdoor activities including “snow-kiting.”

It’s great publicity for attracting young go-getters and entrepreneurs to Wisconsin’s capital city. 

Forbes’ pegged Des Moines, Iowa, as the best city in the country for young professionals. That’s surprising. Forbes credits Des Moines’ low business costs for “attracting startups and companies relocating from the coasts.”

Raleigh, N.C., the “college town turned boom town,” ranked second.

Madison beat out every other city including Austin, Texas, (No. 11) and nearby Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., (No. 10). No West Coast cities even cracked the Top 15. 

One shout-out in a national financial magazine won’t magically boost our local economy. Yet Madison has repeatedly ranked high in a variety of Forbes lists.

The latest honor also is well timed, given the slow economic recovery. It provide some welcome good news as the Capital Region hustles to compete for the jobs and workers of the future.

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