Some recent evidence explains why North Dakota continues to be America’s “economic miracle state“:
1. The BEA reported recently that North Dakota led the country last year with the highest growth in state personal income at 7.6% in 2013, almost three times the national average of 2.6%, and almost double the growth of second place Utah at 4%.
2. On a per-capita basis for personal income in 2013, North Dakota ranked second in the country at $57,084 behind first place Connecticut at $60,847. In 2012, the Peace Garden State ranked No. 6 in per-capita income, but over the last year the booming oil-rich state surpassed Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, and New Jersey to rise to the No. 2 spot in the country.
Compared to the national average of $44,543 in per capita income last year, the income of North Dakota residents was 28% higher. In contrast, just seven years ago in 2006, North Dakota ranked No. 40 in per capita personal income and was among the poorest one-fifth of US states, and the state’s per capita income was 14% below the national average.
3. Building permits for single family homes in North Dakota surged to a new all-time record high of 549 in January and then reached another record high of 866 permits in February (see chart above). Compared to the 270 permits issued in February of last year, permits in the same month this year are more than 3 times higher at 866.
4. According to the Conference Board, there were almost twice as many advertised online job openings in North Dakota in January (20,800) than there were unemployed persons (10,530), suggesting that there’s now a labor shortage in the Peace Garden State. At the national level, it’s the exact opposite – there are about twice as many unemployed workers (10,236,000) as online advertised job vacancies (4,918,000).
5. The Census Bureau reported last week that three of the five fastest growing micro areas (cities with populations of 10,000 to 50,000) in the country between July 2012 and July 2013 were in North Dakota: Williston, ND was No. 1 at 10.7% growth in population, followed by No. 2 Dickinson, ND at 5% and No. 5 Minot at 3.7%.
6. The epicenter of the Bakken oil fields is Williston, ND (a city with a population of less than 50,000) and Delta Airlines now offers four non-stop, direct flights every day in each direction between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Williston, ND.
MP: The phenomenal economic rise of North Dakota, going from the poorest one-fifth of America’s states for per-capita income seven years ago to becoming the second wealthiest state in the country last year (and surpassing Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts) was the result of one factor: oceans of shale oil in the western part of the state that were only recently accessible because of revolutionary drilling technologies. The shale oil bonanza in the Peace Garden State has created a jobs boom with more openings than available unemployed workers, and a housing boom with a three-fold increase in permits over the last year. It continues to be America’s “economic miracle state.” Thanks to shale oil, North Dakota’s future looks very, very bright and its status as the “economic miracle state” will continue for decades.