Meet the state with America's strongest economy

North Dakota's oil boom has sent its GDP soaring, and it's minting 2,000 millionaires a year. But it also faces tough problems.

By Bruce Kennedy Jun 10, 2013 8:43AM

Jerry Myers, district manager for Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp., walks along a catwalk at the top of crude oil storage tanks in Watford City, North Dakota on Feb. 14, 2012 (© Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)There's relatively good news nearly across the board when it comes to America's state-by-state economic growth. A new report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis says every state and the District of Columbia, with the exception of Connecticut, experienced real increases in gross domestic product last year.

Overall U.S. real GDP -- that is, adjusted for inflation -- grew by 2.5% in 2012, after an increase of 1.6% a year earlier. Those gains were led by stronger data from durable goods manufacturing, wholesale trade and the finance and insurance sectors.

But if you're looking for the hottest state economy, go north, young man -- to North Dakota. Fueled by the energy boom, it led the nation with a 13.4% increase in GDP in 2012.

Oil production from the underground the Bakken Formation has dramatically changed North Dakota's economic landscape. According to the office of Gov. Jack Dalrymple, the state has created more than 102,000 nonfarm jobs since 2000, and per-capita personal income also doubled during that period. North Dakota's exports totaled nearly $4.3 billion last year, a 26% increase from 2011.

The Center for Innovation at the University of North Dakota tells the Inquisitr website the state is minting nearly 2,000 new millionaires each year, with much of that new-found wealth coming from oil royalties on land. But North Dakota also faces a series of major challenges from the oil boom, including a strained infrastructure, runaway housing prices and the nation's highest worker death rate.

Second on the list of states with the strongest economies was Texas, with a real GDP growth of 4.8%, followed by Oregon at 3.9%.

And what of that laggard Connecticut and its negative (-0.1%) GDP last year? Analysts say unlike the rest of the country, the Nutmeg State's financial services and insurance sectors -- along with weak real estate and austerity in government programs -- were a drag on the regional economy.

"One of the things that Connecticut has done, which is showing up in these numbers, is shrink the size of government faster than just about every other state," Governor Dannel Malloy was quoted in the Hartford Courant. "That is not generally understood. So that has a negative impact [on the economy] and specifically had a negative impact in 2012."

But Don Klepper-Smith, an economist with DataCore Partners in New Haven, told the newspaper that Connecticut's economic issues go beyond a smaller government sector. "Our economic development policies and tax policies, while well-intentioned, are not serving us well."

More on moneyNOW

Jun 10, 2013 9:17AM
Glad to see the US and North Dakota are working to increase our oi supplies.  We need to take that money and put it back into the economy, encourage businesses to hire American workers (not the we'll work for anything illegals), boost education and get us back to making things again instead of just depending on a financial house of cards we all live in today.

Time to bring back the Middle Class Mr. Obama and Congress!
Jun 10, 2013 11:58AM

As a resident of North Dakota who lives right in the middle of the boom, I can tell you it's not all roses and sunshine. With the influx of workers, of who, 90% are great people just trying to make a living. It's the 10% that are the problem. My family has been here for 100 yrs this spring. Up till 3 tears ago we never locked our doors. You just left them open, so if someone had troubles, they could use the phone or a vehicle. Now there are the dregs of society trying to score some easy money. I have worked my butt off ranching, farming and working the oilfields to have what I have. If someone thinks they are gonna take it from me, well just try.

If you think you can just come here and make $100,000+ just like that, think again. Housing rents criminal, $1000 for a room, $2000+ for an apartment, if you can find one. 

There are great things happening here, but there is also criminal element that this area has never seen before. Murder, stabbings, rapes, robberies. A woman can't even go to walmart alone.

Not to mention the fly by night oil companies that come in and think they know the Bakken. You will here them say " That ain't how we did it in Texas".  You can tell a Texan a mile away, but once they get close, you can't tell em nothing. ;)


Jun 10, 2013 12:03PM
I am writing from Michigan, 6/10/2013.  Today the price of gas is $4.39, $2.30 more than when Obama took office. One of the reason given is lack of refinery capacity and that no new refineries have been built is 20 years. Why not build new refineries in North Dakota where all this oil is and save building a pipe line to take the crude 1200 miles to the Gulf to have it refined.  The savings on not building the pipeline would go a long way in paying for a refinery in the middle of the oil production fields. If then  if, for distribution, build a 400 mile pipeline to Minnesota and have it hauled after being refined on the Great Lakes. Take the refinery to the oil source not vice versa.  Makes sense to me.  The folks in N.D. would undoubtedly welcome more jobs of a new refinery, the first in America in  20 years.
Jun 10, 2013 11:51AM
Went to college in Minot for a year and half. Oil boom is great for the economy, but certainly sparked a significant increase in crime and other issues. The housing market is ridiculous. If you can even find a house for sale, you'll be lucky to get a two bed, half bath half kitchen for 1800 a month. Of course the oil field workers have no problem paying for that, locals and college students find it nearly impossible. North Dakota is also expanding, but building the structures poorly and fast. I have seen numerous structures collapse due to the carelessness. In short, yes the oil boom is boosting the economy, but many people fail to witness the issues that come along with it.
Jun 10, 2013 10:17AM
Does the oil that is produced in the USA stay here or is it shipped out? How about the oil from Canada? 
Jun 10, 2013 11:56AM
Jun 10, 2013 11:54AM
Just a couple of words,,,free market.
Jun 10, 2013 11:57AM
This boom has been beneficial but we have also had some issues. Our crime rate has gone up, cannot even walk around my small town by myself anymore because of the scary stuff going on. A bunch of locals have had to move out and I know a lot more people are leaving now because thy cannot afford to live here. It is way too crazy.
Jun 10, 2013 11:53AM
I live in the central part of ND in the oil boom and I wouldn't move or trade it for anything.
Jun 10, 2013 11:58AM
Conn. welfare system is one of the reasons for their economic state. The state has a lot of unions which does not help.
Jun 10, 2013 11:56AM

the last time this kind of oil boom happened the economy doubled in 4 years.  That is the facts,,,its been a while though.


Jun 10, 2013 11:27AM
The Center for Innovation at the University of North Dakota tells the  the state is minting nearly 2,000 new millionaires each year, with much of that new-found wealth coming from oil royalties on land.---- I wonder how that is taxed..Probably different than the middle class person with that kind of income.
Jun 10, 2013 11:51AM
Fine banks for excess reserves and you'll see our economy booming in six months.
Jun 10, 2013 12:08PM
I wonder how it's going here in NJ where we have the most residents leaving.  
Jun 10, 2013 12:39PM
Ridiculous housing prices mentioned below by people from ND illustrate again the absolute, indisputable fact of supply and demand.

North Dakota housing, in the middle of nowhere, should be as cheap as Idaho.   Since there's a huge demand though, prices are sky high.

This applies in all other areas of the economy as well.

If we deported illegals, wages would rise because there would be a scarcity of people willing to mow lawns, clean toilets, do menial jobs.   When fewer people are willing to do something, you have to pay more to attract them.  People who support amnesty for illegals don't care about lower income Americans.

Gas prices are higher than they were before, because huge foreign countries now demand large quantities of it, so the demand/supply situation is much tighter than it was 20, 30 years ago.

When a new electronic game console or gadget sells out immediately, that item can be sold on E-bay for twice, three times its value because there's a huge demand and very little supply.

The bigger the supply, relative to demand, the lower the price.  The smaller the supply, relative to demand, the higher the price.

Jun 10, 2013 12:00PM
Regal Man 500, it's econ 100 that the private sector clreates the job, the job on going, not temporary funding job created by the government with tax payers' mony (our money).  If Obama and the congress believe they can create the job with our money, they're deadly wrong.
Jun 10, 2013 1:29PM
I've lived in NoDak since 2008 and the oil boom has ruined what was once a nice, quiet, inexpensive place to live.  My two bedroom apartment went from $450.00 to $900.00 in just 3 years.  The restaurants are full of drunks that cause problems with the locals and also seen the first homocides in over a decade.  Thanks to the oil workers, the locals can't live on what was once a decent wage and on top of it all, Minot, ND is still recovering from the flood of 2011.  Paradise just got fracked.
Jun 10, 2013 1:12PM
My brother works on the oil fields in western North Dakota. He works insane hours due to the demand. If he refused to work the obscene overtime(80 hours+) per week, he'd be fired.

He's lost way too much weight, looks pale, thin, and very unhealthy.

The employee turnover rate in the oil business is skyhigh. Most workers don't last 6 months. My brother has been working there about 18 months. He is the most senior person there now. Everyone else has quit. This work wil likely kill my brother within a couple years.

These are the hidden truths that no one wants to tell us about the oil industry. There's a reason why it has a sky high turnover with employees hating the job and quitting.

Now, Republicans want to end OVERTIME and repeal the 40 hour workweek, once again?

Jun 10, 2013 12:14PM

Many think that the oil boom is ND can be replicated all over the U.S. and then oil prices will drop to levels of 20 years ago.  It is not going to happen; you will pay the market price, whatever that market (world market) price is.  If everything is so wonderful in ND, why are there some negative posts from ND residents regarding increased crime, dirty water, housing and rental costs, and other environmental issues.  When things become polluted, like rivers and lakes, what happens then?  Progress never comes without a price.  The question is, does everyone want to pay for it?

Jun 10, 2013 12:24PM
Barry, tax 90%?That was the top tax rate when IKE was president.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

Trending NOW

What’s this?


[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More