The shale oil expansion began in North Dakota, and the expansion of oil output in the U.S. has been nothing short of revolutionary. However, I think it is time to recognize that the fanciful notion of “energy independence” is less and less likely to happen, if it ever really had a chance. We are surely less dependent on foreign oil as the graph shows, but it is not clear that it is going to go to zero anytime soon, if ever.
The big story for North Dakota is not just about oil in western North Dakota, it is about the adjustments to the underlying economic dynamics in the state. Consider the situation of labor markets in two North Dakota cities, Williston and Grand Forks. These data are for the Williston micropolitan area and the Grand Forks metropolitan area from 1997 to the end of 2013.
I get many queries about data related to North Dakota. Sometimes the questions focus on national data and the implications for the North Dakota economic environment. Other times the questions relate more to the internal dynamics and workings of North Dakota. These questions come from all sectors and all types of businesses.
The approaching holiday season means many will now renew their focus on the retail sector for a clue to strength in the economy. What does this mean to North Dakota? There are many factors working to the positive for ND right now. The exchange rate with Canada is one of them, seen here: