I know some don’t like it and it is not over yet; the increase in jobs in North Dakota I mean. Who does like the increase in crime, broken pipelines and the other negatives the western part of the state has put up with. On the other hand, remember, before this started a decade ago we were a poor state. People like the Poppers said we shouldn’t have been. Magazines like National Geographic sent a photographer out here to find an old farmstead with the front door of the farm home blowing in the wind. The eastern elite wanted to turn us into their playground.

Following several years of declines in the number of jobs in North Dakota, and in the states population the oil boom has finally turned that around. Now the elite in North Dakota are in Fargo. Their press, printed and electronic, write pontificating stories about farming and about energy development. Even the oil patches own write absurdities. One daily blamed a police failure of a major crime investigated by both the local and state police on the oil boom. Said there was just too much to do.

Some think that other areas of economic growth at least contributed to the increase, but I don’t think that is true. It may be that the increase in manufacturing, particularly ag manufacturing, and in certain areas like Microsoft and less well known computer software and hardware firms slowed the decrease down, but I don’t think any were large enough to make up for the decrease in farming population and the secondary jobs farming brought to small towns.

I am talking about all the small town lumber yards, hardware stores, machinery dealers and car and pickup dealerships now gone. Go to Grafton, Carrington, Lamoure, any little town outside of the oil patch. It is sad. And it is the truth.

On the other hand, in a half dozen or so shopping center towns there was some growth. Look at the table above, in the classification of city, of MSA, of MiSa (micropolitan statistical area), it was only Jamestown and Wahpeton which lost jobs, and population.

Then we do take the positive like growth in manufacturing and add it to the oil boom and North Dakota over the past four to six years has had an increase, a large increase, in the number of jobs and in population.

I won’t repeat the data, but just say that without the oil boom our job numbers would be down substantially over this time. I will also say that when the oil boom is built if something else, possibly another energy development doesn’t happen we will drop from our peak. However, we will still be larger than we were in 2000.

In the meantime, ain’t this great, or so I think.

 

Comments are closed.