January 2013: Business Indicators

North Dakota Business IndicatorsThe number of active oil drilling rigs in the state continues to decline as older, less efficient rigs are replaced. However, despite the declining rig count, oil production and the number of producing wells continues to climb. The number of wells increased nearly 30 percent in the past twelve months; the volume of oil produced increased nearly 50 percent to almost 730,000 barrels per day.

The North Dakota unemployment rate remains the lowest in the nation at around 3 percent while the national rate is still nearly 8 percent. In Dickinson and Williston, two cities heavily impacted by oil activity, the unemployment rate is even lower – only 1.4 percent in Dickinson and .7 percent in Williston.

The state’s construction industry continues to boom – residential building permits are up 46 percent from last year. In some localities, the growth is much higher. Residential building permits through October 2012 are up over 200 percent in Dickinson when compared to the previous year.

Despite the growth in oil activity, agriculture continues to play a key role in the state’s economy. Supporting growth in farm proprietor income is continuing strength in agricultural commodity prices. Wheat remains over $8 per bushel and corn over $6 per bushel. In 2011, agricultural products accounted for $558 million in state exports, over 16 percent of the state’s $3.4 billion total exports.

Rod Backman, CPA, CFP
Covenant Consulting Group

Go to the View Issues 2013 page and click on January 2013 to view a table showing a variety of economic measures at the local and national level.

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