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Fargo, Mankato rank among Forbes' best small places for business

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Fargo, North Dakota, and Mankato, Minnesota, ranked among the nation's Best Small Places for Business and Careers, according to a new list by Forbes.

Fargo came in No. 1 on the list, followed by No. 2 College Station, Texas. Mankato is No. 3.

Two other Minnesota cities were in the top 100: Rochester at No. 23 and St. Cloud at 24.

Forbes looked at all cities with populations under 250,000, weighing 12 metrics related to job growth, cost of business and living, income growth, educational attainment and projected economic growth through 2016, to determine the ranking.

Forbes said Fargo, which has a population of 219,400, has been the economic center for southeastern North Dakota and parts of northwestern Minnesota since 1871. The story adds that the city is a hub for culture, and notes the city's theater and artistic events, as well as festivals, sporting events and the Winter Carnival.

Mankato, with a population of 98,900, is home to several academic institutions and noteworthy places that include the Land of Memories Park, Minneopa State Park, River Hills Mall, Hubbard House and Franklin Rogers Park, Forbes says. It's also has many community events like its annual Ribfest, and is home to Minnesota Vikings summer training camp.

Both Fargo and Mankato have been climbing the rankings on Forbes' list. In 2010, Fargo ranked No. 9; in 2011, it ranked No. 6; and in 2012 and 2013, it ranked No. 2.

Last year, Mankato was ranked 10th, in 2012 it was 11th and in 2011 it was 25th, according to the Mankato Free Press.

Forbes also published a list of larger cities on a list of Best Places for Business and Careers.

Des Moines, Iowa, ranked No. 2, and Minneapolis-St. Paul ranked No. 17.

Forbes notes the Twin Cities is home to some of America's most iconic companies, including General Mills, Target and 3M. Forbes notes that the metro ranks in the top 10 percent for both college and high school attainment.

Minnesota and the Twin Cities have ranked among the top in numerous business lists as of late. Minnesota was ranked among the best states for small business. The Land of 10,000 Lakes also ranked No. 8 on Forbes list of Best States for Business in 2013, and, earlier this year, made a list of states with the least number of foreclosures.

Minneapolis ranked fifth best city for college graduates in 2013, as well as one of the best cities for small business employees. The city was also ranked No. 1 for green commercial space.

Last fall, David Letterman joked about Minnesota's business success with a top 10 list of the state's least successful businesses.

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