Whistling past the graveyard

North Dakota State Roundup

Published November 1, 2008  | November 2008 issue

If North Dakotans seem quiet when it comes to the economy, they're probably just trying to keep from bragging.

While much of the country struggles, North Dakota has boomed. In 2007, taxable sales jumped by 10 percent, topping $10 billion for the first time. In the first quarter of this year, taxable sales accelerated to 13 percent. That same quarter, personal income skyrocketed by 7.6 percent—more than double the rate in the next closest state (South Dakota). Nationally, quarterly personal income grew by 1 percent.

A gushing oil industry has been a major driver—evident in part by the fact that the state's four largest cities saw lower growth in 2007 taxable sales compared with the statewide average. But other sectors are contributing to overall growth. State reports show that 14 of 15 industries in the state saw growth last year, and that momentum is spilling over. In the first quarter of this year, mining and oil extraction taxable sales were up an amazing 60 percent, but manufacturing also registered almost 20 percent growth, and wholesale trade jumped almost 30 percent.

Ronald A. Wirtz