What happened when North Dakota lowered its regulatory barriers to energy development?
North Dakota had the highest payroll-to-population rate (P2P) and the lowest underemployment rate in 2012, thanks mostly to the state’s booming oil & gas industry.
According to Gallup’s “State of the States” analysis released today, North Dakota ranked number one among the lower 48 states, with a payroll to population rate of 53.6 percent.
Gallup said it measured each state’s P2P rate by the percentage of the adult population aged 18 and older employed full-time by an employer for at least 30 hours per week.
The analysis noted that the numbers are not seasonably adjusted and variations across states reflect a number of factors, including the overall employment situation for each state as well as the demographic composition of that state’s population. P2P rates in Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia were not considered in the analysis.
Factoring in the most recent unemployment data is key to the Gallup analysis. North Dakota reported just a 3.2 percent unemployment rate, well below the national average unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The number one ranking should not come as much of a surprise given the Peace Garden state’s rise in oil and gas production and the subsequent rise in jobs over the past few years.
According to North Dakota Jobs Service data from 2011, the most recent available, the number of oil and gas jobs in North Dakota has risen 57.5 percent since 2010 – going from 10,660 jobs in 2010 to 16,786 jobs in 2011, with the oil and gas payroll nearly doubling — going from $852 million in 2010 up to $1.5 billion in 2011.
North Dakota now produces more oil than any other state, including Alaska, which ranked number one in 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” which uses high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals to force oil from underground rock formations, has largely contributed to the recent boom in North Dakota’s fossil fuel industry.
North Dakota, as you might expect, is a very, very conservative state.
What about the US as a whole, under Barack Obama and the Democrats? Well, Obama killed the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have created 20,000 jobs. His administration has introduced many burdensome regulations on energy development, as well. Democrat energy policies have been a disaster, and it explains, in part, why we have a huge number of people not in the work force. We could have allowed North Dakota’s success to spread across the United States, if we had only approved that pipeline and removed barriers to energy development imposed by high taxes and regulations. But we didn’t. There’ll be another chance to vote for jobs in 2016.