Though its economy is small, North Dakota continues to resist the recession gripping most areas of the country. Its unemployment rate was well below 3 percent late last year; third quarter taxable sales grew by 28 percent and retail sales by almost 8 percent, over the previous year. Even the construction sector grew.
The state is seeing a trickle of bad news: Layoffs are occurring in the Williston Basin thanks to low oil prices, the number of out-of-state duck hunters last year dropped by 23 percent over the previous year and Bobcat Co. extended a six-week shutdown of two North Dakota plants.
But while most states are seeing big budget deficits and are begging for federal assistance, North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven unveiled a two-year budget that proposed a 19 percent increase in spending. North Dakota's gross state product grew by more than 50 percent from 2000 to 2008, according to newspaper reports.
—Ronald A. Wirtz