North Dakota just can’t seem to keep itself out of the economic headlines these days – but the news bodes well for the Peace Garden State. In recent years, advanced technology (particularly fracking to extract shale and oil) has provided a boost to the oil and gas industry in North Dakota. An influx of residents flocking to the state to reap the benefits of the energy boom has created a ripple effect in the service industry, which has also expanded in order to accommodate the expanding population. Farming and agriculture also remain key contributors to the state’s economy.
#1: North Dakota ranks first for personal income growth.
Personal income in North Dakota is on the rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), North Dakota’s 7.6 percent increase in personal income in 2013 represents the highest percentage gain among the states. The average U.S. state personal income growth was 2.6 percent for the year.
North Dakota is one of three states to have earnings growth exceed the national average not only in 2013, but in each of the four years since the recession, the BEA reports. Oklahoma and Texas are the other two states to share these bragging rights.
The BEA cites mining – including oil and gas extraction – as a prime contributor to the rise in earnings in each of these states. In North Dakota’s case, the farming industry experienced the highest growth rate in 2013 compared to the prior year, increasing by 22.04% over the year. Other industries with high annual earnings growth rates include construction (+16.78%); professional, scientific and technical services (+15.76%); and management of companies and enterprises (+14.12%). Earnings growth in North Dakota’s mining industry rose 10.65%.
Per capita income in North Dakota (based on preliminary data for 2013) is above the national average.
|Per capita personal income (2013)|
#2: North Dakota boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.
Unemployment in North Dakota is – and has been – low. On a statewide basis, North Dakota appears quite comfortable with its position as the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. In 2013, North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate (2.9%) of all states, marking the fifth year in a row holding this distinction.
An influx of residents flocking to the state to reap the benefits of the energy boom has created a ripple effect in the service industry, which has also expanded in order to accommodate the expanding population.
February employment data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals more of the same. With an unemployment rate at 2.6%, North Dakota strikes again as the state with the lowest jobless rate.
But North Dakota enjoys more than a low employment rate. It has also been experiencing employment gains. In February, North Dakota had the largest month-over-month percentage increase (1.3%) and year-over-year increase (4.1%) in non-farm employment.
#3: North Dakota’s population is growing at a faster rate than any other state.
North Dakota is experiencing an influx of residents. In 2013, the population of North Dakota grew to 723,393, representing a 3.14% increase from 2012 – the highest growth rate in the nation. Compared to 2010, North Dakota’s population rose by 7.6%.
For the year ending July 1, 2013, six of the ten fastest-growing metropolitan statistical areas were in or near the Great Plains, including two – Fargo and Bismarck – in North Dakota, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“As the first results from the 2012 Economic Census revealed [on March 26, 2014], mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industries were the most rapidly growing part of our nation’s economy over the last several years,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said in a press release. “A major reason was the energy boom on the Plains, which attracted job seekers from around the country.
Williams County, North Dakota was the fastest-growing county (among counties with population of 10,000 and above) in 2013.
#4: New home construction in North Dakota is far outpacing the national average.
Not surprisingly, the expanding population is leading to an increased need for housing. According to data prepared by the National Association of Home Builders, building permits for all housing (single- and multi-family) in North Dakota increased 32% in February 2014 compared to February 2013, buoyed by single-family homes. The national year-to-date increase was 5.0%.
February 2014 (000s)
|% Change from February 2013||Single-Family
|% Change from February 2013||Multi-Family
|% Change from February 2013|
Source: National Association of Home Builders