Atlanta again ranked first in a survey of the nation's top-level executives concerning the best place to locate a business among major U.S. cities.

The Louis Harris & Associates survey asked chief executive officers to give their opinion of general business conditions in the nation's 31 largest metropolitan areas.Of the 385 executives responding, 39 percent rated the Atlanta area as excellent, giving the city the top ranking for the third year in a row.

San Diego got an excellent rating from 26 percent of the executives, taking second place. The other cities in the top five were Boston with 21 percent and Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth with 20 percent each.

Salt Lake City wasn't ranked in the survey.

Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young said favorable living costs and the availability of a skilled work force have helped make the city attractive to businesses. "These are things we have strongly emphasized," he said.

Harris was commissioned to conduct the survey by Cushman & Wakefield, a New York-based real estate brokerage firm.

Also ranked in the survey were: Los Angeles, 19 percent; Washington, D.C., 19 percent; Phoenix, Ariz., 18 percent; Columbus, Ohio, 17 percent; Minneapolis-St. Paul, 17 percent; Norfolk, Va., 17 percent; Seattle, 16 percent; Sacramento, Calif., 16 percent; New York, 16 percent; Tampa, Fla., 14 percent; San Francisco, 14 percent; Cincinnati, 14 percent; San Antonio, 14 percent; St. Louis, 11 percent; Kansas City, Mo., 10 percent; Philadelphia, 10 percent; Pittsburgh, 10 percent; Portland, Ore., 9 percent; Houston, 9 percent; Miami, 9 percent; Baltimore, 8 percent; Denver, 8 percent; Detroit, 8 percent; Milwaukee, 5 percent; Cleveland, 5 percent; New Orleans, 4 percent.