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How to Recession-Proof Your Personal Economy

Imagine with me for a minute…a state in the union where right now, even in this time of recession, the following was true:

  • Microsoft is building a $70 million campus…and hiring.
  • New car sales are up 27%.
  • Unemployment is only 3.4%
  • The state government has a $1.2 billion surplus and is a little mystified as to what to do with it.

Oh yes, housing is still ridiculously affordable (by nation-wide standards), crime of most kinds is measured in single digits, and your kid has a more than good chance of playing varsity ball in high school with friends from your neighborhood.

Impossible, you say?  Not according to the New York Times. Of course, this wonderland is a Winter Wonderland – my home state of North Dakota.

The State that Time Forget (it was 1967 when I graduated in 1985) is also the state that the recession missed, as a convergence of the Bakken Oil Field (larger than the Saudi’s biggest oil field), a good year for farmers, and the residents’ natural tendency to not spend every dime they make has formed a robust economy even in a time of adversity.

Part of this is cultural, to be sure.  The article quotes one leader as saying “We didn’t make all these goofy loans….”.    From first hand experience, my guess is that the trade-ins offered for the 27% car sales increase were probably half ton pickups build in the early 90’s…and they traded their good truck because the sprayer was still mounted on the old one.

As more and more people become knowledge workers – and broadband finds it’s way to places like Buffalo Springs – people will be weighing the balance of financially lucrative living with 40- temperatures and lakes you can drive across for months out of the year.

So…for a great salary and a low cost of living, would you move?

Thanks to fellow Nor’ Dakotan Darrin Rodgers for the tip off to the article.  There’s a package of lutefisk and tickets to the Valley City Winter Show coming your way.  OK, not really…

LATE EDIT:   Another plus in moving to North Dakota?   All the abandon Minuteman Missle Silos.  I remember farming around these as a kid.  Read an interesting article about them (and what they want to use them for) in the USA TODAY.


10 Responses

  1. it was 1967 when I graduated in 1985

    THAT was an amazingly & ironically funny correlation of reality.

    North Dakota sounds like a nice place to be….

    Although, here in Central PA – I personally haven’t noticed any negative effects of this “recession”.

    Besides, in the economy of God’s Kingdom there is no such thing as a recession.

  2. I had to laugh at this because all my Dad’s family lives in North Dakota (he’s the only one that ‘got out’!). LOL And, the really funny part is that my Aunt and Uncle live in Grassy Butte, the city mentioned toward the end of your post. It’s very remote!!! She’s a teacher with only 5 kids in her 3rd grade class — but, there’s so much oil revenue that they’re never lacking funds and she says they’ll never shut the school down because money’s not an issue and they love the small classes! LOL I’m just not convinced it’s worth the FRIGID temps up there, though! Brrrrrr!!!! LOL Where are you from in North Dakota? My Dad has family in Grassy Butte, Minot, Washburn, Rugby, and Jamestown.

  3. Of course, like a dork, I name dropped Buffalo Springs but I link to the map of Grassy Butte. Actually, Grassy Butte is considerably larger than Buffalo Springs and nowhere near it.

    Now that I’ve offended both internet users in Buffalo Springs, I’ll be done with it.

  4. both internet users in Buffalo Springs

    WOW…toooo funny. 🙂

  5. Sad to say their joy in North Dakota will be short lived. Wont be long before this recession, dare I say soon to be depression, hits the small towns of North Dakota. Its only a matter of time.

  6. Steeno, I’m beginning to see why you could never get a date to the 4H dance. You’re a bundle of fun.

    Actually, I tend to agree with you, but when it all really goes pear shaped, it’s still not bad to have the oil and the food.

    “North Dakota is the New Dubai”.

  7. Yeah, but you still have to drive 12 hours to get to IKEA. Is it really worth it???

  8. @Kelsey – Dear City Wife, be reminded that Fargo, ND is closer to an Ikea store than the metropolis cowtown we live in right now…

  9. I have to admit that not one of my college applications was addressed to North Dakota. Mistake? Hmmm….

  10. I like how you conveniently forgot to mention the awesome weather they have there in good ol’ ND.

    Minus 40? In the summer?? At high noon??? Yah, I’ll pass, thank you!

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