2010's leading state: North Dakota

The most dynamic economy in America belongs to the state of North Dakota, aka "The Peace Garden State." The underlying reason (pardon the pun) is development of the vast Bakken shale oil deposits underway. As a result, North Dakota has the lowest unemployment and highest economic growth of any state in America.
Barbara Hollingsworth of the Washington Examiner writes:

North Dakota's oil boom has already increased the sparsely settled state's population by 5 percent, and the director of the state's Mineral Resources Department predicts that 2,000 new wells (there are now 166 active ones) will be drilled in 2011. Half will be located in a 70-mile radius around Williston, which had to add 1,200 new housing units this year to keep up with demand.


But the state is also looking to the future.

In November, 63 percent of North Dakota voters wisely approved a measure that funnels 30 percent of all oil tax revenues, now at $613 million annually, into a Legacy Fund which cannot be touched until July 1, 2017, at which time it is expected to be about $2 billion and generate $60 million in interest annually for the state's general fund. 

But only interest earned by the fund can be spent by the state

Regrettably, many other domestic shale oil fields have been declared off limits for development in response to greenie pressures. This is a huge mistake, as dependence on energy iumports not only weakens our economy, it makes us strategically vulnerable to Arab oil producers who seek a global caliphate.

North Dakota has had a tough century. The state was originally developed as a result of railway construction (The Northern Pacific and Great Northern Railways, building on their way to the Pacific Coast), and was settled primarily by German and Scandinavian farmers, recruited by the railroads to settle the land and generate traffic in the form of wheat. It so happened that the period of railroad construction in the late 19th century was also a period of unusually abundant rainfall.  When the weather returned to normal, more arid, conditions, many farmers went bust. The Depression, with low farm prices, was especially hard on the state, too. The population went into decline for decades.

Throughout these tough years, and facing a climate that in winter is more formidable than even that of my native Minnesota, North Dakotans evolved a culture that prized self-reliance and community concern. When people think of heartland values, there can be no greater example than North Dakota, where people know they will perish if they do not take care of themselves and look after their neighbors, just in case.

With its tiny population, substantial growth in North Dakota will not have a major national impact -- unless that is, we open up rich federally-constrained lands in other states for similar development.

North Dakotans are accustomed to indifference at best, mockery at worst. South Dakota, with its scenic Black Hills and Badlands, attracted much more attention and growth. Neighboring Minnesota, with its vibrant Twin Cities economy, attracted many young North Dakotans seeking their fortunes. Those left behind faced a bleak future until Bakken. Now, North Dakota is having the problems attendant on prosperity -- housing shortages in Williston and Bismarck. As far as I am concerned, prosperity couldn't happen to a nicer place.

Hat tip: Hot Air, Michael Geer
The most dynamic economy in America belongs to the state of North Dakota, aka "The Peace Garden State." The underlying reason (pardon the pun) is development of the vast Bakken shale oil deposits underway. As a result, North Dakota has the lowest unemployment and highest economic growth of any state in America.
Barbara Hollingsworth of the Washington Examiner writes:

North Dakota's oil boom has already increased the sparsely settled state's population by 5 percent, and the director of the state's Mineral Resources Department predicts that 2,000 new wells (there are now 166 active ones) will be drilled in 2011. Half will be located in a 70-mile radius around Williston, which had to add 1,200 new housing units this year to keep up with demand.


But the state is also looking to the future.

In November, 63 percent of North Dakota voters wisely approved a measure that funnels 30 percent of all oil tax revenues, now at $613 million annually, into a Legacy Fund which cannot be touched until July 1, 2017, at which time it is expected to be about $2 billion and generate $60 million in interest annually for the state's general fund. 

But only interest earned by the fund can be spent by the state

Regrettably, many other domestic shale oil fields have been declared off limits for development in response to greenie pressures. This is a huge mistake, as dependence on energy iumports not only weakens our economy, it makes us strategically vulnerable to Arab oil producers who seek a global caliphate.

North Dakota has had a tough century. The state was originally developed as a result of railway construction (The Northern Pacific and Great Northern Railways, building on their way to the Pacific Coast), and was settled primarily by German and Scandinavian farmers, recruited by the railroads to settle the land and generate traffic in the form of wheat. It so happened that the period of railroad construction in the late 19th century was also a period of unusually abundant rainfall.  When the weather returned to normal, more arid, conditions, many farmers went bust. The Depression, with low farm prices, was especially hard on the state, too. The population went into decline for decades.

Throughout these tough years, and facing a climate that in winter is more formidable than even that of my native Minnesota, North Dakotans evolved a culture that prized self-reliance and community concern. When people think of heartland values, there can be no greater example than North Dakota, where people know they will perish if they do not take care of themselves and look after their neighbors, just in case.

With its tiny population, substantial growth in North Dakota will not have a major national impact -- unless that is, we open up rich federally-constrained lands in other states for similar development.

North Dakotans are accustomed to indifference at best, mockery at worst. South Dakota, with its scenic Black Hills and Badlands, attracted much more attention and growth. Neighboring Minnesota, with its vibrant Twin Cities economy, attracted many young North Dakotans seeking their fortunes. Those left behind faced a bleak future until Bakken. Now, North Dakota is having the problems attendant on prosperity -- housing shortages in Williston and Bismarck. As far as I am concerned, prosperity couldn't happen to a nicer place.

Hat tip: Hot Air, Michael Geer

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