North Dakota’s Economic Stimulus

In North Dakota, a state with a 3% unemployment rate, the labor shortage is so great that businesses are now employing international students who have obtained four-month work visas. While many states with two or three times North Dakota’s unemployment rates are eagerly looking for government bail-outs and government-funded “stimulus” packages, North Dakota has embraced the ultimate stimulus–a high degree of economic freedom.

What is the reaction to this happy development? Our State Department is “looking into” North Dakotans’ employment of foreign workers to see is the visa program is being “misused.”

Instead of looking at a state that has embraced economic freedom and productivity and finding fault, should we not look at this situation of labor shortages and try to re-create it throughout the country?

As the Wall Street Journal reports,

As of May, the county surrounding Williston had nearly 1,700 unfilled jobs and 240 people unemployed. The unemployment rate is 0.7%. “It’d be different if we had people being kept from a job because of them,” Mayor Koeser said. “Everyone here who wants a job has a job.”

North Dakota’s  embracing of hydraulic fracturing, an enormously successful oil and gas well stimulation technology has contributed to the states accession to the countries second most prolific oil producing state. Increased oil and gas on the market has resulted in benefit of lower energy costs for all.

How is that for an economic stimulus package? Greater degrees of economic freedom, resulting in technological innovation and a increase in available energy and employment opportunities.

North Dakota’s productive people must therefore defend their success–as should the rest of us.

For a terrifying look at what an economy looks like starved for energy, read this recent Wall Street Journal article.