Currently viewing the category: "BUILDING PERMITS"

All of the data you see here have been published in previous posts is some format. In some cases the dates have been changed. For instance, in the first table on the left the Employment data was published recently, but it covered from May 2000 to May of 2014. This posting is May 2013 compared to May 2014, a shorter time. I did that because most of the other postings were of that time. That is, covering one year only.

I wanted to be able to show my readers a similar time comparison involving the same cities. I have-sort of. As best I can, here is what happened over the past year in the larger towns in North Dakota. Of course that has to include Fargo as the largest town in the state, and it needs to include the changes coming about because of the oil boom, especially Williston and Dickinson.

It also should show what the larger farm towns outside of the oil patch are doing. As I expected, places like Jamestown, Wahpeton, and even Carrington, Langdon and Grafton, while jumping around based on the farm economy of the year demonstrate those dramatic changes occurring in farm technology.

That is. sometimes the economy in those towns goes up when the ag economy is good, but the population and employment continues down as the technology shows people are being replaced by machines-huge machines with huge price tags.

Agriculture is in a boom time, but unlike oil successful ag means fewer people. Fewer farmers, fewer service people for those fewer farmers. Service people mean fewer bankers, now called financial experts, and fewer mechanics, now called technicians. There maybe is only half the machinery dealers, but they are huge5 What cost maybe $120000 less than a decade ago cost $400,000 today. Then a good day the machine covered 120 a day. Today it is 250 acres in a day. The first sprayer I used had a boom width of less than 50 feet. Today with 1500 plus gallon tank the boom width is about 140 feet. Eight and one half rounds to cover a quarter section and taking time to fill only once with that 1500 gallons. Push a couple buttons and take your hands off the steering wheel. Fewer people, fewer farms. You have to look two miles to see the closes neighbor. That is the only way to make it work. No more 400 to 800 people towns, and the 4000 population town is now 1875 people. And the ride is just starting. Hold on.

So, look at these figures. We will get more specific over time, but this is our future. Every acre will still be farmed, more intense. but you won’t recognize the farm. There might not be anyone in the machine. They will be back in the control center watching the screen and reading all the gauges. Of course they won’t adjust the settings, that will be done automatically.

Imagine what North Dakota would look like if Harold Hamm hadn’t developed fracking. Imagine the wealth that would just be sitting in the rocks at 10000 feet below the surface. Where would the money have come from.

A Minnesota paper carried an article about the railroad union agreeing with the railroad company to allow “freight trains” in the near future to run with only one person. I assume that person would be the engineer, but maybe not. What do you call that person? What does our life become as I watch a science program about scientist in South America looking for that fish that will feed the world. What a terrible world with no Red River Valley potatoes. What a boring life that will be.


What can I say. Unbelievable! Flabbergasted! Can you believe this? Nothing in all the years I have been doing these statistics has ever approached what I present here.

I understood post flood. I even understood what was happening last year. But this, it is hard to believe. We know that the state is putting a lot of money into UND with the law school, the eating hall, and the medical school, but commercial spending for new buildings and for repairs/remodeling is down by three fourths that amount (about a $24 million decrease to a $32 million increase) and to date, only one-half the way through the year, Grand Forks is nearly 45 percent ahead of last year in building permit value. Remember, last year set a record by 50 percent compared to the next closest year.

The East Grand Forks data is not ready yet. I will present it when I can, but what I want to do is combine several of these charts I have done lately involving Grand Forks specifically in comparison to other cities in the state, and the upper northern plains where that is possible.

I mean things like this,city sales taxes, and job growth. What is causing things like this? What do people know that maybe we are not aware of.

It may be that Grand Forks is entering into an exciting economic time. Remember, economist talk about leading economic indicators. What could be a better indicators than investing in large scale capital items?


Last year, 2013, the Grand Forks city building permit dollar value totaled just over $212 million. That was a record for the city. This year to date, that is January through April totaled nearly $79 million while in that record last year in the same time period the amount was not quite $24 million. That is, through April the amount is over three times last years figure at the same time.

Now with so many projects already started there is probable fewer projects that the contractors have the time to enter into yet this year, plus we don’t know what the weather holds for us. Still…? Imagine, especially if local contractors can get more help, or if contractors come in to Grand Forks to bid on contracts what this would do for the years totals.

True East Grand Forks is down by about 20 percent, but that was higher than normal last year because of one large commercial project. This year there is nothing there. That is what happens with one project in a small town. East Grand Forks building has been what we should expect as an average on a year to year basis.

Anyway, this is great for Grand Forks, and really the entire metro area. Things like this can go a long way towards making up for the lack of Canadian trade. I think we have a good year coming, or really already started, here in Grand Forks.