Report Names North Dakota the Best-run State
Gov. Dalrymple cites state's 'sound fiscal policies'
Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 18:12
North Dakota is running better than the other 49 states, according to a survey released Nov. 25. For the second straight year, the financial news corporation 24/7 Wall St. has deemed North Dakota the best-run state in America.
The nationwide survey took into account hundreds of statistics, including financial health, standard of living and government services in order to determine the wellbeing of a state.
“This study recognizes hat North Dakota’s sound fiscal policies are working,” North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a press release reacting to the study’s findings. “We are in a strong position to provide tax relief, maintain a healthy reserve while also investing in statewide infrastructure improvements, education, enhancements to our quality of life and other priorities.”
North Dakota’s numbers stood out in many deciding criteria, according to the 24/7 Wall St. report that accompanied the survey. With a billion-dollar budget surplus, the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 2.7 percent, and a Gross Domestic Product growth in 2012 of 13.2 percent, the state is on a roll, mostly in part to the oil and agriculture industries.
“The recent growth of GDP in North Dakota is mostly due to strong agriculture prices…and (the) oil boom in western North Dakota,” Stan Herren, a professor of economics at NDSU said.
“Commodity prices have risen tremendously since 2007 and skyrocketed to record highs in 2012,” Andy Swenson, an agriculture economist at NDSU, told the Iowa Farmer Today in a recent interview.
Yields have also been relatively strong across the state. Farmers have been cashing in on these bumper-crop years, stimulating North Dakota’s economy.
Although crop prices have since fallen off, the oil boom out west continues to rage. In 2012, 10 percent of North Dakota’s GDP was attributed solely to the state’s mining sector, including crude petroleum and natural gas extraction, according to the 24/7 Wall St. report. The Bakken Oil Foundation, centered in the western part of the state, offers a vast amount of job opportunities— and with these opportunities come workers.
Before the oil boom took off in the 2000s, North Dakota encountered a population decrease in the 1980s. After stagnant growth in the ’90s, the population grew by 4.7 percent in the 2000s, thanks in large part to the Bakken, and the number continues to grow. The U.S. Census has approximated that the population in North Dakota has grown another 4 percent from 2010 to 2012, the largest growth by a state in that span of time.
The survey listed North Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska and Utah as the top five best-run states. California, with its massive budget shortfall and unemployment rate of 10.5 percent, has been dubbed the worst-run state.