North Dakota Laughs at Your Puny Recession

Rectangular wonder has more jobs than it can fill
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2008 12:18 PM CST
Delta Air Lines President Ed Bastian holds up a North Dakota license plate given to him as a gift by Gov. John Hoeven, Dec. 4, 2008. Delta will be expanding service in the state,   (AP Photo/James MacPherson)
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(Newser) – There may be a recession going on, but you wouldn’t know it by visiting North Dakota, the New York Times reports. The state budget boasts a hefty $1.2 billion surplus, auto sales are up 27%, and unemployment is just 3.4%. In fact, the sparsely populated state has 13,000 jobs it’s struggling to fill. Credit the boom in part to a surge in oil production, a good year for farmers, and a culture that frowns on excess.

“Our problem is that everybody thinks that it’s a cold, miserable place to live,” said the state’s Senate majority leader. Even now the state’s prosperity is inconspicuous. Residents, in classic Midwestern style, are preparing for the worst, which could come soon. One Moody’s economist calls North Dakota an “outlier,” sure to be hurt by declining national demand. “It’s not going to hold,” he concludes. (Read more North Dakota stories.)