Well... yes and no, according to Forbes 17th annual ranking of the Best Places for Business and Careers. Silver Spring ranked highest amongst Maryland jurisdictions surpassing Baltimore and Salisbury. The higher ranking for Silver Spring was elevated by its score in the education category where it placed third overall out of 200 places in the United States.
So why was Bethesda a no-show this year? To sum it up, Forbes explains that the rules have changed. The Federal Office of Management and Budget that makes those rules no longer includes Bethesda as a stand-alone “city” and is no longer in the chain of names that made up the Micropolitan Statistical Area (a sub region of the greater Washington, D.C. metro) which for the longest time was known as the Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD Metropolitan Division. Now it’s referred to as the Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD Metropolitan Division.
The ranking is partly a combined effort of all areas in Montgomery and Frederick Counties but Silver Spring is also one of the few sub markets in the D.C. area with a Fortune 500 company (Discovery Communications) and one of the largest Biotechnology companies in the D.C. area (United Therapeutics). Forbes noted media, biotechnology and healthcare as strong suits for the urban district and its territories.
Silver Spring (#81) was the only area in the Washington, D.C. metro to rank besides Washington, D.C. proper (#54). Forbes looked at 12 metrics including projected economic growth through 2017 and cultural and recreational opportunities. Categories to rank also included “cost of business” and “job growth”. No northern Virginia areas made the list but the closest ranked area in that state was Richmond.