While most of the country continues to climb out of the wreckage of the massive recession of the last decade and tries to rediscover the road to prosperity, North Dakota's industries and economy have mostly remained strong.
The recession actually created prosperity for the Peace Garden State and according to USA Today,
in 2011 the unemployment rate was a miniscule 3 percent. "It's a zoo," said one man who drove to North Dakota from Spokane, Washington and tripled his salary with a new job within hours of entering the state. "It's crazy what's going on out here."
The reason is an oil boom — a boom that was estimated by some to be the biggest in this country in at least 40 years. But oil isn't the only successful industry in North Dakota, as the state has kept itself afloat during this century's economic turmoil. In fact, the state — which, in 2013, was ranked No. 1 in the country in job creation for the fifth-straight year — has flourished, according to RealClearPolitics.
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Here are five of the top industries in North Dakota:
Before oil was discovered, agriculture was the major driving force in the state's economy and it continues to maintain its importance. As The Bismarck Tribune notes
, about one in four jobs in the state is agriculture-related, and its production of a number of key crops is impressive.
According to North Dakota Legendary
, North Dakota "ranks first in the production of flaxseed, canola, durum wheat, all dry edible beans, all dry edible peas, spring wheat, honey, lentils, sunflowers, barley and oats." Most importantly to the agricultural industry, though, is the production of wheat. Livestock production is key, as well.
While the boom has helped keep the state prosperous during the recession, it's also come with consequences. The recent drop in oil prices for this country are making industry experts wary about the future, and about 20 of the state's oil rigs have gone out of production since late 2014.
"I think we're going to see a fairly significant correction," Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, told the Star Tribune in January 2015.
"You're going to see a tremendous number of pink slips over the next quarter and into the following quarter."
Perhaps one wouldn't think of North Dakota as a hot vacation spot, but according to North Dakota Legendary, that industry is the third biggest in the state, reeling in $4.6 billion in 2010. In 2013, 24 million people visited North Dakota, many of them journeying from Canada and they spent $3.6 billion.
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It's a nice influx for a state that has a total population of 725,000. "Between 2011 and 2013, that's a two-year period, our visitation saw a 22 percent increase. And the tourism-related expenditures increased 19 percent over the same period," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said via KXNews in January 2015.
4. Coal Gasification:
North Dakota has one of the world's largest deposits of lignite coal –— which is transformed into synthetic natural gas — and is the nation's only synthetic natural gas producer. According to the Dakota Gasification Company
, the majority of the 153 million cubic feet of natural gas that is produced daily is piped to Iowa so it can be distributed to the eastern U.S., while it sends its supplies of carbon dioxide — measured at between 2.5 and 3 million metric tons per year — to Saskatchewan, Canada.
North Dakota Legendary says that North Dakota is ninth in the country in coal production, supplying the country with 3 percent of the U.S.' overall output.
5. Renewable Energy:
Aside from oil and coal production, North Dakota has become a home for renewable energy including wind, bioenergy and ethanol power and it has major support. According to The Dickinson Press
, 97 percent of the state's population feels that energy efficiency is very or somewhat important.
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