North Dakota Job Hype

Is North Dakota truly the state of opportunity and prosperity? Unemployment currently is the lowest in the United States at 2.6 percent. In these economic times that is amazing. Why is the employment rate so much lower than the national unemployment rate. The reason for this surprisingly low unemployment rate is in part a reflection of the oil-fueled economic boom that has hit the state of North Dakota. The average wage for workers in Williston, ND, one of the major drilling hubs in the state is over $80,000 per year in fact Wal-Mart and McDonald’s pay their workers $15 - $17 per hour, because of the high demand for workers. You would think that a place like this with all of the jobs and prosperity would be an idea place to live and work. This sounds great however, there’s another side of the story that some of the supporters of drilling as the solution to America’s economic problems rarely mention. Below are some of the challenges that the state and citizens of North Dakota have and do currently face;

  • Williston, ND is #1 in the nation for housing shortages and rent inflation: One bedroom apartments can cost more than $2,000 a month. This matches or exceeds the amount in some of the country’s larger cities. This has caused a problem for seniors. Especially those on fixed incomes. Some have chosen to move away as a result.
  • Bad Traffic and Roads: According to the Mayor of Williston, “It's hard to imagine anywhere else in the country that deals with so many trucks,” The roads are being torn up and this has caused an headache for drivers.
  • Tough environment for Women: Single men outnumber women by a wide margin. Women in high heels and skirts are a rare sight. In fact some men compare the environment to the military or prison. Some women are constantly looked at and even followed when simply shopping at the local Wal-Mart. Prosecutors and the police have even noted an increase in crimes against women, including domestic and sexual assaults.
  • Bad Weather: North Dakota has some of the coldest weather in the country. This can be hard for some that come from warmer climates.

You’ve heard both sides of the discussion. The peachy side sounds like a dream come true and the not so peachy side sounds like a curse. Is the North Dakota Opportunity just hype? You have the facts it’s up to you to decide.


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