North Carolina ranked No. 3 on CNBC's annual list of the Top States for Business, up one spot from last year.
The business TV network ranked all 50 states in 10 broad categories, including cost of doing business, workforce, quality of life and transportation & infrastructure.
North Carolina gained ground in workforce and infrastructure, but took a hit in the economy category. CNBC noted that the state's unemployment rate of 9.7 percent remains above the national average.
Economic recruiters and politicians often use such "best of" lists as they work to lure new businesses to North Carolina. Officials with the N.C. Commerce Department and Research Triangle Park immediately sent out alerts on Twitter about today's CNBC list. And Gov. Bev Perdue's office only took a couple of hours to put out a full press release.
Of course, "We're No. 3" bragging rights only go so far when North Carolina lags No. 2 Texas. What's even harder for N.C. officials to stomach: Virginia came in at No. 1 on CNBC's latest list.
Texas and Virginia have traded off the top spots since CNBC started its list in 2007. Virginia moved up this year with gains in the education and cost of doing business categories.
Tar Heel boosters can always fall back on other, similar lists. Last fall, Site Selection magazine put North Carolina No. 1 on its ranking of states with the "top business climate" for the sixth year in a row.
Read the full CNBC report here.