Sales Executive - iClick Media Pte Ltd - MacPherson   
Be part of a growing company where you can expect a fun working culture, ample room for growth and attractive remuneration package!...
From iClick Media - Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:10:16 GMT - View all MacPherson jobs
          SEO Specialist - iClick Media Pte Ltd - MacPherson   
Be part of a growing company where you can expect a fun working culture, ample room for growth and attractive remuneration package!...
From iClick Media - Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:10:14 GMT - View all MacPherson jobs
          Web Developer - iClick Media Pte Ltd - MacPherson   
Be part of a growing company where you can expect a fun working culture, ample room for growth and attractive remuneration package!...
From iClick Media - Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:10:14 GMT - View all MacPherson jobs
          iOS Developer - iClick Media Pte Ltd - MacPherson   
Be part of a growing company where you can expect a fun working culture, ample room for growth and attractive remuneration package!...
From iClick Media - Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:10:13 GMT - View all MacPherson jobs
          Recruitment drive to meet high demand for luxury British boats   

Photo

A constant stream of visitors at the London Boat Show earlier in the month saw the continuation of an upward sales trend for Fairline, with sales figures exceeding the previous year and strong forward order books now extending into late 2014 for some models. 

The introduction of the brand’s new 48ft range has contributed to the recent increase in demand. Powered by Volvo IPS, Fairline’s three 48ft models are manufactured at Fairline’s state-of-the-art facility in Corby, using the latest technology and production systems. All three new models feature a dynamic new hull, significant weight savings and an array of available options to ensure each model is perfectly suited to different markets.

The third model in this range – the Targa 48 GRAN TURISMO – recently made its world debut at the London Boat Show, where it was displayed alongside the Squadron 48 and the Targa 48 OPEN. The boat features a stunning retractable hard top offering an ‘open, even when closed’ feel and intelligent space-saving innovations engineered throughout the boat.

Kevin Gaskell, CEO of Fairline, commented: “We are delighted with the success we enjoyed at this year’s London Boat Show and would like to thank our teams in Oundle and Corby for all their hard work in producing such beautiful boats. Sales were excellent at the show, showing a strong growth over last year and our impressive stand was busy with visitors throughout the show. As a result of this excellent news, we are delighted to be recruiting for roles across the factory and have been able to approach previous employees. We are all very excited about what the future holds for Fairline.”


          Lord Digby Jones Kt officially opens new Corby facility   

Photo

The launch highlights the completion of a year-long project to redevelop the facility, resulting in the new mixed model production line for boats from 38 to 50 feet, along with dedicated centres of excellence for moulding and furniture production, and the introduction of resin infusion technology. The changes have secured Fairline’s position at the forefront of the industry for its class-leading manufacturing facilities, and paved the way for its future growth and development. 

To coincide with the launch event, Fairline Boats announced the great news that the company has returned to profit following three years of losses, with sales up 4% for 2012 at £82.6m.

Invited guests were given business updates by Fairline’s CEO, Alistair Schofield, Stephen Ahmad of RBS, and Peter Williamson, Fairline’s Chairman and Operating Partner at Better Capital. The presentations highlighted Fairline’s aims for the future including expanding its range from eight models to 15, increasing the presence of its worldwide dealer network and continuing to grow new and expanding markets. 

Guest of honour, Lord Digby Jones Kt, was treated to a tour of the new facility before unveiling a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the factory. Lord Digby spoke of the importance of British manufacturing and the opportunity that exists for UK businesses that align themselves appropriately for the future.


          Fairline implements manufacturing change programme   

Photo

The significant changes see Fairline move from eight single model lines to three mixed model lines, as well as create dedicated centres of excellence for moulding and furniture production – creating a roadmap for sustained growth of this iconic British brand.

The changes will enable Fairline to achieve greater flexibility in its production processes and will drive higher levels of labour productivity and materials utilisation. The new programme will improve even further the fastidious build quality that Fairline is, justifiably, renowned for.

Alistair Schofield, CEO at Fairline Boats commented: “As a brand, we have reacted dynamically to the challenging economic environment and moved the business forward significantly over the last year. We have invested in our manufacturing facilities to create more flexibility in our production system, including the creation of a dedicated centre for excellence for furniture production, which is based on greater utilisation of CNC production technology.

“We recognise that investment in technology will improve our efficiencies, but throughout the development of this programme we have also remained relentlessly focused on the importance of retaining the high quality standards that Fairline is renowned for and ensuring this change has a positive impact on the already very high build quality of the boats we produce. We are delighted with the results of the programme and the benefits this will offer us, our dealer network and our customers for our 2013 model year.”

The trio of new 48-foot models will all be manufactured utilising the revised manufacturing facilities. The Targa 48 OPEN, the first in the range, will make its world debut in summer 2013.

Fairline Boats manufactures luxury motor yachts from 38-78ft in two distinct ranges, Targa and Squadron.


          New Report of Nuclear Power Control Valve Market Share, Growth by Top Company, Region, Application, Driver, Trends & Forecasts by 2022 – satPRnews   
New Report of Nuclear Power Control Valve Market Share, Growth by Top Company, Region, Application, Driver, Trends & Forecasts by 2022 – satPRnews
          How late can herbicides be applied to corn?   

The labels of most postemergence corn herbicides allow applications at various crop growth stages, but almost all product labels indicate a maximum growth stage beyond which broadcast applications should not be made, and a few even a state minimum growth stage before which applications should not be made. 

These growth stages are usually indicated as a particular plant height or leaf stage; sometimes both of these are listed.  For product labels that indicate a specific corn height and growth state, be sure to follow the more restrictive of the two. Application restrictions exist for several reasons, but of particular importance is the increased likelihood of crop injury if applications are made outside a specified growth stage or range.

Table 1.  Postemergence herbicide application timings based on corn growth stage(s).

Herbicide

Maximum corn heights and growth stagesa

2,4-D

Broadcast before corn exceeds 8” tall; use drop nozzles when corn is taller than 8”.

Accent Q

Broadcast up to 20” tall or through the V6 stage.  Apply with drop nozzles when corn is 20–36” tall or before the V10 stage.

Anthem Maxx

Apply from corn emergence through the V4 (visible fourth leaf collar) stage.

Armezon Pro

Apply from corn emergence to the 8-leaf stage or 30” tall.

Atrazine

Apply before corn exceeds 12” tall.

Basagran

No height specified on label.

Basis Blend

Apply to corn from spike through 2 collar stage. Do not apply to corn having 3 fully emerged collars or over 6” tall.

Beacon

Broadcast when corn is 4–20” tall.  After corn is 20” tall or exhibits more than 6 collars use directed applications up to tassel emergence.

Cadet

Apply until corn is 48″ tall or prior to tasseling.

Callisto/Callisto GT

May be applied to corn up to 30” tall or up to the 8-leaf stage.

Callisto Xtra

Apply before corn exceeds 12” tall

Capreno

Broadcast applications must be made to corn from the 1-leaf collar stage through the 5-leaf collar (V5) stage.

Clarity or Banvel

Apply between corn emergence and the 5-leaf stage or 8” tall; apply 0.5 pt/A rate when corn is 8 to 36” or if 6th leaf is emerging, or if 15 days prior to tassel emergence.  Do not apply when soybean are growing nearby if: 1) corn is more than 24” tall, 2) soybean are more than 10” tall, 3) soybean have begun to bloom.

DiFlexx/DiFlexx Duo

Apply broadcast when corn is at the spike through 6-leaf collar (V6) growth stage, or 36” tall, whichever occurs first.

Glyphosate (glyphosate-resistant corn)

Apply broadcast through the V8 stage or until corn reaches 30” tall.  Use drop nozzles for applications to corn 30–48” tall.

Halex GT (glyphosate-resistant corn)

Apply to corn up to 30″ tall or the 8-leaf stage.

Harmony SG

Apply to 2–6 leaf corn with 1–5 collars or up to 16” tall.

Hornet WDG

Apply broadcast until corn reaches 20” tall or V6 stage.  Apply with drop nozzles to corn up to 36” tall.

Impact/Armezon

Can be applied up to 45 days before harvest.  Do not apply Armezon past the V8 growth stage.

Laudis

Apply up to the V8 growth stage.

Liberty (glufosinate-resistant corn)

Broadcast until corn is 24” in height or in the V7 growth stage (7 developed leaf collars).  Use drop nozzles for corn 24–36” tall.

Marksman

Apply between corn emergence and the 5-leaf or 8” height stage.

Moxy

Apply prior to tassel emergence.

NorthStar

Broadcast applications are made when corn is between 4 –20” tall (V2–V6).  Use directed applications when corn is 20–36” tall.

Permit

Can be applied from spike through layby.

Realm Q

May be broadcast applied to corn up to 20” tall or exhibiting 6 leaf collars.

Require Q

Apply to corn 4–20” tall.  Do not apply to corn exhibiting 7 or more leaf collars.

Resolve Q

Do not apply to corn taller than 20” or exhibiting 7 or more leaf collars.

Resource

Apply to corn from the 2-leaf through 10-leaf stage.

Shotgun

Broadcast applications to corn up to 4 leaves or 8” tall; directed applications for 5-leaf or 8–11 ¾” tall corn.

Solstice

May be applied broadcast up to the V8 growth stage or 30” tall.

Spirit

Broadcast applications to corn 4–20” tall.  Use drop nozzles when field corn is 20–24” tall or exhibits more than 6 collars (V6).

Starane Ultra

Apply broadcast to corn with up to 5 fully exposed leaf collars (V5).

Status

Do not apply to corn taller than 36” or past the V10 stage.

Steadfast Q

Apply to corn up to 20” tall or exhibiting 6 leaf collars.

Stinger

Apply to corn from emergence through 24” tall.

Yukon

Apply broadcast or with drop nozzles to corn from spike to 36” tall.  Drop nozzles are recommended when corn exceeds 20”.

Zemax

May be applied after corn emergence until plants reach 30” tall or up to the V8 stage.

When maximum application timings are indicated by two corn growth stages, follow the most restrictive of the two.

Originally posted by University of Illinois.


          Tips for applying residual herbicides to emerged corn   

The rapid progress of corn planting sometimes can outpace the application of soil-residual herbicides, says Aaron Hager, University of Illinois.  In most instances these herbicides are applied within a few days after planting, but weather-and equipment-related factors can delay applications until after corn has emerged.

Most, but not all, soil residual herbicides can be applied after corn has emerged.  Products such as Balance Pro, Radius, Fierce, Prequel, Sharpen and Verdict must be applied before corn begins to emerge; applications of these products to emerged corn can result in significant corn injury.  Be cautious about applying a soil-residual herbicide in UAN carrier if corn has emerged as this can increase the potential for corn injury.  Also, be sure to consult the respective product label for tankmix and spray additive recommendations or prohibitions.

Labels usually indicate a maximum corn growth stage beyond which applications should not occur.  These growth stages can range from as early as two leaf collars to as late as 40-inch tall corn, so be sure to consult the respective product labels.  Products containing atrazine must be applied before corn exceeds 12 inches tall, although the labels of some atrazine-containing products specify a smaller height.


You might also like:

Variable-rate nitrogen program tested

Early-season weed stress impact on corn genetics

5 tips when using in-furrow fertilizer


          Minister visits Dubrovnik Airport, biggest EU project in Croatia   

Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Tomislav Tolusic visited Dubrovnik Airport on Friday, saying the primary function of this big European Union development project was transport connection and that in the long term it would enable tourism development and economic growth in Dubrovnik-Neretva County and the whole region.


          5 Ways To Make The Most Of Being Single   

Emotional development and personal growth can actually skyrocket after a breakup.

The post 5 Ways To Make The Most Of Being Single appeared first on Believe by ChristianMingle.


          Restaurant Manager - Red Lobster - Pottstown, PA   
High school diploma or equivalent required; Success is measured by consistent financial results, an exceptional guest experience and your team’s growth and...
From Indeed - Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:54:54 GMT - View all Pottstown, PA jobs
          Parts Counterperson - CYV Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd - Woodstock, NB   
WE OFFER: * Excellent work environment * In house training program * On-going training provided * Great opportunity for career growth Duties * Oversee...
From CYV Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd - Sat, 29 Apr 2017 10:00:42 GMT - View all Woodstock, NB jobs
          Body Shop Technician - CYV Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd - Woodstock, NB   
WE OFFER: * Excellent work environment * In house training program * On-going training provided * Great opportunity for career growth RESPONSIBILITIES...
From CYV Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd - Sat, 29 Apr 2017 10:00:42 GMT - View all Woodstock, NB jobs
          Product Specialist - CYV Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd - Woodstock, NB   
WE OFFER: * Excellent work environment * In house training program * Product training * On-going training provided * Great opportunity for career growth ...
From CYV Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd - Sat, 29 Apr 2017 10:00:42 GMT - View all Woodstock, NB jobs
          Service Technician - CYV Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd - Woodstock, NB   
WE OFFER: * Excellent work environment * In house training program * On-going training provided * Great opportunity for career growth RESPONSIBILITIES...
From CYV Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd - Tue, 21 Mar 2017 07:11:43 GMT - View all Woodstock, NB jobs
          New country classifications by income level: 2017-2018   

Updated country income classifications for the World Bank’s 2018 fiscal year are available here.

The World Bank assigns the world's economies into four income groups — high, upper-middle, lower-middle, and low. We base this assignment on GNI per capita calculated using the Atlas method. The units for this measure and for the thresholds is current US Dollars.

At the Bank, these classifications are used to aggregate data for groups of similar countries. The income-category of a country is not one of the factors used that influence lending decisions.

Each year on July 1st, we update the classifications. They change for two reasons:

1. In each country, factors such as income growth, inflation, exchange rates, and population change, influence GNI per capita.

2. To keep the dollar thresholds which separate the classifications fixed in real terms, we adjust them for inflation.

The data for the first adjustment come from estimates of 2016 GNI per capita which are now available. This year, the thresholds have moved down slightly because of low price inflation and the strengthening of the US dollar. Click here for information about how the World Bank classifies countries.

Updated Thresholds

New thresholds are determined at the start of the Bank’s fiscal year in July and remain fixed for 12 months regardless of subsequent revisions to estimates. As of July 1 2017, the new thresholds for classification by income are:

Threshold GNI/Capita (current US$)
Low-income < 1,005
Lower-middle income 1,006 - 3,955
Upper-middle income 3,956 - 12,235
High-income > 12,235

Changes in Classification

The following countries have new income groups:

Country Old group New group
Angola Upper-middle Lower-middle
Croatia High-income Upper-middle
Georgia Upper-middle Lower-middle
Jordan Upper-middle Lower-middle
Nauru High-income Upper-middle
Palau Upper-middle High-income
Samoa Lower-middle Upper-middle
Tonga Lower-middle Upper-middle

The country and lending groups page provides a complete list of economies classified by income, region, and lending status and links to previous years’ classifications. The classification tables include all World Bank members, plus all other economies with populations of more than 30,000. The term country, used interchangeably with economy, does not imply political independence but refers to any territory for which authorities report separate social or economic statistics.

Tables showing 2016 GNI, GNI per capita, GDP, GDP PPP, and Population data are also available as part of the World Bank's Open Data Catalog. Note that these are preliminary estimates and may be revised. For more information, please contact us at data@worldbank.org.


          Production Engineer   
IN-Indianapolis, 4506TMT Production Engineer – Automotive Tier one – Indianapolis CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO! ABOUT OUR CLIENT: Our client is a leader in the tier one automotive industry. They have an immediate need for a Production engineer. ABOUT YOU: If you are the “on the floor” analytical engineer type, seeking a great growth opportunity as a production engineer with a very profitable tier one automotive compan
          Re: Foretelling Global Stock Returns, 1980-2015   
Simplegift wrote:William Bernstein has done interesting research on share dilution, summarized in his 2011 comment in The Economist:
William Bernstein wrote:In the first place, the 2% share dilution seen in the US was typical only of developed nations that had not seen their territories devastated by war. In those nations that had, dilution averaged 4% per year, and as high as 7.5% in Japan.

Further, we speculated that rapid economic growth born of technological advance was akin to physical destruction, both of which require large capital inflows from share dilution to replenish capital stock.

This was in fact confirmed a few years later by work by Speidell et al. (“Dilution is a Drag . . .” Journal of Investing, Winter 2005), who found dilution in excess of 10% per year for many Asian nations, and as high as 30% in China, which is the most likely reason for poor long-term returns of equity there.

Looking at the numbers for China (granted, an extreme example): For the decade from 1992 to 2002, China’s GDP grew by 11.5% per year. However the capitalization of Chinese equity markets grew by 39% per year, as the number of listed companies grew from 52 to 1,296. Thus the S&P price index of Chinese equities only appreciated by 3.5% a year over the decade.


The issue of share dilution is something I have never thought much about but it makes perfect sense. This is a good reason not to throw all your money at the fastest growing economies.
          Re: Am I being unrealistic about my expectations of dividend income? Is there a better alternative?   
marcopolo,

First of all I want to thank you for your help!

Ok...I think my fund VHDYX is getting both dividends & share buy backs.
I don't think they are mutually exclusive. Most companies will do both.

I realize that Berkshire-Hathaway does not pay a dividend. But Warren
Buffett buy's stocks that do pay a dividend. I think Warren Buffet is a
huge dividend stock buyer. I think Warren Buffett is a closet dividend
growth investor. Warren Buffett is one of my hero's...

I also think that VHDYX fund has all/most of the dividend growth stocks
in the fund that the Vanguard Growth Appreciation Index Fund has.
          Re: Beginner needs sanity check moving a lot of cash to market.   
John Laurens wrote:Ok then. Will you bet me a million dollars that a 60/40 portfolio will out perform his guaranteed mortgage rate over the next 2 years? If I win, I get a million dollars. If you win, you get the satisfaction that you guessed right over a guy on the internet.

Regards,
John


Paying off a mortgage is not a "guaranteed return" of 3.8%. And why does he need to "beat it" in 2 years? The interest on a mortgage (or any loan) is a finance charge. You know exactly what you will pay in interest over the life of the loan from day one. So, if a mortgage will cost you 100k over the life of the loan, paying it off early will save you no more than 100k. Alternatively, putting $300-400k into the stock market now and letting it sit for 20-30 years will return far more than $100k over that time (400k at 7% for just 10 years could yield over 380k in growth). Of course that is not guaranteed, but unless the world economy implodes and never recovers, he'll do much better investing now especially if he leaves the money invested for longer. Time in the market is key here. He absolutely without a doubt is much better off investing all of that cash now and keeping his mortgage for as long as he wants. At 3.8% and his current tax bracket, he's really only paying around 2% interest after the mortgage interest tax deduction anyway. That's free money. He should not pay off the mortgage. He's relatively young and wants to be financially independent in 10 years which means he needs more money in the market and he needs to get it in there asap to maximize time invested.
And great simple portfolio. If you put this money in a taxable, don't use the total bond fund there.
          Re: Top Performing Newsletters   
Taylor Larimore wrote:Hi Bogleheads:
My favorite newsletter is "Hulbert's Financial Digest." This is a highly respected newsletter that has been tracking newsletter recommendations for over 26 years.

In the January 2008 issue (page 1 of 23 pages) Mr. Hulbert has a table showing each year's top performing newsletter gain along with its gain (or loss) in the next year:

YEAR..GAIN..NEXT YEAR.......NEWSLETTER
1981..+24.2%..+22.8%.......The Zweig Forecast
1082..+85.1%....+6.9%.......On Markets
1983..+59.0%....-4.6%........The Addison Report
1984..+95.2%..-19.5%........Bernie Schaeffer's Option Advisor
1985..+99.3%..+55.3%........McKeever Strategy Letter
1986..+55.3%..-43.6%........McKeever Strategy Letter
1987.+663.7%..-94.8%.......Puetz Investment Report
1988.+133.4%..-55.8%.......McKeever Strategy Letter
1989.+367.9%..-70.1%.......The Granville Market Letter
1990.+111.1%..+12.5%.......Your Window into the Future
1991.+148.7%..+12.2%.......OTC Insight
1992..+63.4%...+52.6%.......The Turnaround Letter
1993..+54.6%...-28.1%.......Mutual Fund Technical Trader
1994.+118.5%..-90.4%.......Seasonal Trade Portfolio
1005.+107.7%..+17.2%.......Medical Technology Stock Letter
1996..+58.1%..+42.9%.......The Prudent Speculator
1997..+89.4%..-31.9%........The Granville Market Letter
1998..+83.8%..+56.1%.......The Pure Fundamentalist
1999.+157.0%..-34.8%.......Technology Investing
2000.+182.0%..-87.6%.......fredhager.com
2001..+77.7%.....-5.7%.......Coolcat Explosive Small Cap Growth
2002..+32.8%..+23.8%.......Buyback Premium Portfolio
2003.+137.3%....-4.0%.......BI Research
2004.+154.8%..-26.4%.......fredhager.com
2005..+64.2%..+26.0%.......Outstanding investments
2006..+75.5%..+64.8%.......Cabot China & Emerging Markets Report

26-year annualized "next year" loss: -27.9%
26-year annualized gain of Wilshire 5000: +12.6%

Mr. Hulbert's conclusion: "Calander-year returns are an exceedingly poor basis for choosing between investment newsletters."

Best wishes.
Taylor


Sure, but to be complete and fair, you didn't include the annualized "this year" gains.

Of course, trying to capture that is next to impossible as it would require knowing exactly which newsletter to hop to next, but we should at least compare apples to apples.
          Rubber Tire Backhoe Operator, Rocky View, AB - Primary - Alberta   
Handle aggregate with loader. Primary Engineering and Construction Corporation (Primary) is a growth-oriented industry leader providing professional shallow...
From Primary - Thu, 22 Jun 2017 22:31:08 GMT - View all Alberta jobs
          Government Senior Spec System Design Engineer   
MD-Columbia, Seeking experienced computer network defense analysts to improve the availability and survivability of customer networks and protection of vital information from cyber adversaries. This position will involve Certification & Accreditation activities, cybersecurity threat awareness and reporting, participation in the development of cyber analysis growth and improvement opportunities, cyber analysis
          127 facts you probably didn’t know about video marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]   

Curious about video marketing? This infographic made by Megan Arevalo will tell you the 127 facts you probably didn't know about video marketing, including: timeline, demographics, video usage statistics, growth of online video, video marketing overview, video marketing conversion, mobile role in video marketing, psychology of video consumers, video in email marketing, video commerce, top platforms for video marketing, remarketing in video marketing.

The post 127 facts you probably didn’t know about video marketing [INFOGRAPHIC] appeared first on Awario Blog.


          Financial Consultant - Sterling National Bank - Yonkers, NY   
Knowledge of LPL procedures and Branchnet System is an asset but not required. Sterling National Bank is an organization committed to strong growth....
From Sterling National Bank - Fri, 30 Jun 2017 05:35:50 GMT - View all Yonkers, NY jobs
          On Conference Call, Conservative Leaders Demand Full Repeal of Obamacare   
(CNSNews.com) – During a conference call on Friday, conservative leaders from organizations including the Tea Party Patriots, Club for Growth, and ForAmerica, as well as former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), demanded that Republicans in Congress completely repeal the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. “It is important to remember that our current situationContinue reading
          Biometrician / Inventory Specialist - Forsite Consultants Ltd - Salmon Arm, BC   
The successful candidate will drive innovation and help to deliver forest inventory and growth &amp; yield support to our clients through a merger of traditional...
From Forsite Consultants Ltd - Tue, 20 Jun 2017 12:20:03 GMT - View all Salmon Arm, BC jobs
          The 3 Best Dividend Stocks in Telecommunications   

Telecom stocks are popular with income investors because they offer high yields and steady growth and their moats are tough for new competitors to cross. But with so many telco stocks on the market, it can be hard to identify the best plays.


          Why the Best Is Yet to Come for Corning Incorporated   

In its 2017 first quarter results, all five of its business segments saw year-over-year revenue growth. Four of the five divisions-Display Technologies, Optical Communications, Specialty Materials, and Life Sciences-realized double-digit earnings increases over the previous year's results.


          Pops and O.P. - "You Go To My Head"   
© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.


“Louis Armstrong  was the father of “vernacular music,” which was made possible by the microphone.  Anyone with any kind of contemporary rhythmic concept —be they singer, instrumentalist, or composer-arranger— owes a debt to Armstrong.  By the way, my favorite Armstrong performance, both playing and singing, is his 1957 recording of “You Go To My Head” with Oscar Peterson. If you want to understand where Miles Davis came from, and why Armstrong is still relevant today, listen to this.  I often play it for students, and many of them find it a life-changing record.”
- Bill Kirchner, Jazz musician


Returning to the subject of favorite recordings, Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson [825 713-2] has been included in that group since Verve released it in 1957.


Louis’ meeting with Oscar Peterson's trio, is as Richard Cook and Brian Morton in The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, 6th Ed “perhaps a mixed success, but nevertheless an intriguing disc.”


Peterson can't altogether avoid his besetting pushiness, yet he's just as often sotto voce [a quiet or understated voice; literally “under the voice”] in accompaniment, and on the slower tunes especially - Sweet Lorraine and Lets Fall In Love and You Go To My Head.”


But the important point here is that “the chemistry works, and Louis is certainly never intimidated.”


I also agree with them when they assert: “It’s good to hear [Pops] on material more obviously 'modern' than he normally tackled and, although he sometimes gets the feel of a song wrong, he finds a surprising spin tor several of the lyrics.”


But I think, the most important point to be made in its favor is that, thanks again to the intercession of impresario Norman Granz in, that the album exists!


How many times have you heard friends’ remarks about Wish List recordings - “Gee, I wonder what it would have sounded like to have so-and-so performing with such-and-such - while knowing that the reality is that’s never going to happen because those artists are no longer with us?


I’ve often longed for a Louis Armstrong-Art Tatum recording, but that never happened, either. Thankfully, this one did, especially since Oscar Peterson gets a close to Tatum as anyone ever did.


Put another way, although a modern stylist and very much his own man, Peterson’s homage to Tatum is very much apparent in his playing and is what I think that Cook-Morton are referring to when they mention Oscar’s “besettling pushiness.” But that’s not the way I hear it. What’s on display here is a great accompanist offering his talents to a great soloist, one very much deserving of his respect.


More about the special nature of Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson [Verve 825 713-2] is revealed in Leonard Feather's liner notes from the original LP release of this material:


"When I was a kid," Louis Armstrong says, "I used to go singing around in churches or choirs or on street corners. You'd get four hustlers on a corner who could make a sharp quartet. 1 was about seven years old when I started singing. We'd pass the hat and sometimes we'd make as much as $1.50 a night. That was like $150 a night now"


This recollection places Satchmo's vocal career ahead of his horn-blowing life by several years and means that he has been singing, for pleasure and money, over half a century. Since today his popularity with the general public can be credited even more to his singing than to the trumpet that originally made him a globally known figure, and since the present album is basically a set of vocal performances, it is interesting to note that this thorny, rock-bottomed approach to the use of the human voice predated (and in a sense predicted) similar melodic and rhythmic nuances on the cornet and trumpet.


As George Avakian pointed out in The Jazz Makers (Grove Press), Louis "developed a whole school of jazz singing, based on a literal interpretation of the folk and blues singers' approach to the voice as an instrument. Louis showed that the emotional meaning of o lyric can be expressed through vocal inflections and improvisations of a purely instrumental quality just as effectively — more so, in fact — as through words. This line of development paralleled the growth of his instrumental influence. It still embraces every jazz and popular singer today"


All this can be applied at full strength to the dozen interpretations on these sides of material that generally falls in the popular song category. What Louis may lack in clear understanding of the lyrics' meaning in occasional lines is more than compensated by his overall feeling for the mood of both lyrics and melody. And there are, of course, additional virtues in the presence of his companions. The Oscar Peterson Trio Plus One (Louis Bellson again rounds out the rhythm section as he did on previous albums in which Oscar's trio played for Louis, Ella Fitzgerald and others) is perhaps the most perfectly integrated rhythmic unit of its kind in contemporary jazz.

Peterson's background is about as different from Louis' as Admiral Byrd's from Dr. Livingstone's; yet it is this very contrast, and the eclectic quality in his work, that makes him the ideal accompanist, for any singer or instrumentalist of any jazz school. What Louis learned on the streets and in the Waifs' Home in New Orleans has its best possible complement in what Oscar learned during rigorous classical studies north of the border. Neither had to bend a millimeter in musical concession to the other; the blend of spontaneous musicianship and academic knowledge was natural and immediate.


All the songs in this are from 15 to 30 years old; all have been used extensively by jazzmen, though in several instances Louis had never before recorded them. ...


You Go To My Head is, unless memory fails, Louis' first recorded performance of a number he could and should have introduced as soon as it was published, over 20 years ago. Perhaps in an effort to compensate for keeping us waiting so long, he plays an entire chorus and sings another. Not since Billie Holiday has there been a comparable sympathetic treatment….


Hearing Louis in the un-frilled, ungimmicked setting of the Oscar Peterson rhythm section will be a treat for those who have often seen him in person and wished for fewer encumbrances. Basically Louis needs nobody but Louis — he could stand all alone in the middle of the Sahara, singing selected excerpts from the Tunis telephone directory, and we suspect he could make it for a week without food and water. But if there must be someone else, let it be the man whose team made this
session such a happy occasion for all concerned. The meeting of Armstrong and Peterson marked one of the most catalytic moments since the day when Peterson met Norman Granz.”


Of You Go To My Head, Ted Gioia has written in The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire [Oxford]


You Go to My Head
Composed by J. Fred Coots, with lyrics by Haven Gillespie


“In 1934, this same songwriting duo collaborated on "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," which endeared itself to Mom and Dad by getting countless youngsters to move from the naughty to nice cohort group. Four years later, some of those nice kids had grown up, but I'm confident few parents encouraged their headstrong teens to follow the lead of the new Gillespie-Coots hit "You Go to My Head." This song was a paean to romantic infatuation, packed with similes relating love to booze; in the course of a few bars — musical ones, that is, not those called "Dew Drop Inn" — we get references to champagne, burgundy, and a kicker of julep. Indeed, this song comes closer than any tune I know to capturing in musical form the feeling of losing control.


If the words were a bit too sophisticated for the kids, so was the music. "You Go to My Head" is an intricately constructed affair with plenty of harmonic movement. The song starts in a major key, but from the second bar onward, Mr. Coots seems intent on creating a feverish dream quality tending more to the minor mode. The release builds on the drama, and the final restatement holds some surprises as well. The piece would be noteworthy even if it lacked such an exquisite coda, but those last eight bars convey a sense of resigned closure to the song that fittingly matches the resolution of the lyrics.


Four artists had hit records with this song during the summer 051938. Larry Clinton's version was the biggest success, reaching as high as #3, but Teddy Wilson, Billie Holiday, and Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra each enjoyed placement in the top 20 with their releases. The song fell out of circulation during the early 19403, but was widely covered during the second half of the decade, with artists from a range of stylistic camps — including Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Krupa, Lena Home, Coleman Hawkins, Dave Brubeck, Artie Shaw, and Lennie Tristano — bringing their individual talents to bear on it.


Vocalists tend to take this song at a "deep ballad" tempo, sometimes so extremely slow that they test the competence of the rhythm section to maintain a sense of swing while moving along at less than 40 beats per minute. Check out the recordings by Betty Carter and Shirley Horn for examples of how this can work when the instrumentalists on hand match the skill of the singer. In contrast, Bill Evans — whom one might expect to linger over the chart — delivers a simmering hard bop treatment on his 1962 Interplay album, helped along by Jim Hall and Freddie Hubbard.


Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond take a different approach in their 1952 duet performance from Storyville, mixing romanticism and cerebral deconstruction in equal doses. Desmond had such fondness for this recording that when he and Brubeck reunited for a duet project in 1975, he wanted to showcase "You Go to My Head" again, and the song served as the emotional centerpiece of the resulting album. Both versions are worth hearing, but the earlier track is especially revealing of the simpatico relationship between these two artists, and is my favorite performance from their work for the Fantasy label.”


Here’s a video of Pops and OP performing You Go to My Head.




          Digital Marketing Manager - Enchanting Travels - Bangalore, Karnataka   
Excellent mastery of English (and German would be a plus). As part of our ambitious growth plans over the next 5 years, we aim to build a strong brand within...
From Enchanting Travels - Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:53:38 GMT - View all Bangalore, Karnataka jobs
          Field Service Technician - CATV RF (Southwestern Ontario) - Alpha Technologies Ltd - Canada   
Alpha Technologies Ltd. Installation, set-up and repair of Alpha power products. Due to the continuing growth of our Field Services business, Alpha Technologies...
From Alpha Technologies Ltd - Fri, 12 May 2017 03:57:00 GMT - View all Canada jobs
          Support Specialist - Method CRM - Toronto, ON   
We are looking for the right individuals to help skyrocket our growth. We're looking for a technical Support Specialist to continue building our reputation of...
From Method CRM - Fri, 30 Jun 2017 17:00:53 GMT - View all Toronto, ON jobs
          Customer Success Rep - Method CRM - Toronto, ON   
We are looking for the right individuals to help skyrocket our growth. Customer Success Rep....
From Method CRM - Fri, 30 Jun 2017 17:00:18 GMT - View all Toronto, ON jobs
          Consultant, Professional Services - Method CRM - Toronto, ON   
We are looking for the right individuals to help skyrocket our growth. Consultant, Professional Services....
From Method CRM - Fri, 05 May 2017 07:41:58 GMT - View all Toronto, ON jobs
          Lead Developer - Skyrocket Digital - Vancouver, BC   
At Skyrocket we focus on personal growth and high value work. Skyrocket is looking for a lead developer with a rock solid understanding of what it takes to...
From Skyrocket Digital - Fri, 02 Jun 2017 16:46:51 GMT - View all Vancouver, BC jobs
          The Indefatigable Growth Of Egoism   
Egoism is created in us specifically so that we, through developing it, will achieve the possibility of free will and will begin to use it in spite of ourselves. Then we will attain the Creator. The ego’s property of unlimited growth is an incredible attribute that does not exist in nature. If I want something […]
          Wide Scale Hadoop Adoption   
Good thoughts on the 'why' at the link.  Towards a universal part of IT infrastructure?

Opinion:  Digital transformation driving wide-scale Hadoop adoption  By  Marc Wilczek
The global Hadoop market has witnessed skyrocketing adoption in the recent years and is expected to reach US $84.6 billion in revenue by 2021, equaling a stellar compound annual growth rate of 63.4 percent between 2016 and 2021, according to an Allied Market Research report. ...  " 
          Does Auckland have the infrastructure capacity to host the America's cup? Alex Tarrant reviews two of the Mexican stand-offs involving central government, the Auckland Council, the Airport and Watercare   

By Alex Tarrant

Emirates Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup win has certainly fired up the Auckland infrastructure debate (as if it needed more fuel). Every interested party is now reviewing their wish list trying to figure out whether their pet project could be completed in four years. Rail, roads, houses and water pipes.

The 2021 event (Auckland will also hold the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that year) might be a Godsend for getting even more Auckland infrastructure work on the move (if we can find the labourers needed – don’t mention foreigners!).

But the multiple Mexican stand-offs between the Government, Auckland Council and other parties like Auckland Airport and Watercare need to be resolved. The key in each dispute is who pays for what, when, why and how.

This (rather long) column focuses on two of those stand-offs. Rail to Auckland Airport from the CBD, and cheaper, faster provision of water services for new housing in Auckland – including boosting incentives for cheaper densification. On Rail, there is a simple answer to get things moving if the project would indeed lead to benefits. On water, revised legislation debated in Parliament last week provides some hope.

Rail to the airport

Politicians were quick to jump on the success of ETNZ earlier this week and the expected economic benefits to Auckland from holding the Cup in 2021. The Green Party used the occasion to question the Transport Minister on whether Auckland would have capacity to host the event.

“Will the government start building rail to the airport sooner, if Auckland hosts the next America’s Cup regatta, or will Aucklanders still have to wait 30 years?” Julie Anne Genter asked Simon Bridges.

Bridges’ answers focussed on the current plan of protecting a sole purpose route that will originally be marked out for a busway to the Airport. This showed the government was prioritising the project, he claimed, being careful to add it was difficult to explain what the timeframe could be for progressing to rail. This would be driven by demand and usage numbers, Bridges said.

So why not just kick-start the project of rail to the airport? If central government were to lead on funding, couldn’t others like the Council be given time to come up with their share? The reason this National-led government isn’t making any firm commitments like this is down to the principle of, whoever benefits should pay.

Steven Joyce, Simon Bridges and other Ministers have in recent months been talking more about the use of value uplift taxes to help fund new projects – rates will be higher in areas that profit from increased transportation links, for example. These could be residential rates paid by homeowners in areas with improved access to the CBD from a new road, which would have boosted the value of their property. They could also be imposed on commercial businesses that benefit from more foot-traffic due to being closer to, say, a new train station.

The government openly admits that a value uplift tax would have been a perfect fit for Auckland’s inner-city rail loop. But, because the loop was announced before Ministers could start spraying the idea around, they feel it would be a bit rude (think a vote-loser) to suddenly turn around and clamp such a tax on business owners close to where the new stations would be, regardless of the economics.

They have to find a project that hasn’t yet started, and which would clearly benefit the areas linked by the project. Penlink has been talked about. I also give you the Airport-City rail link.

However, Bridges and Joyce are engaged in a stand-off with Auckland Airport. ‘If you come to the table, then we will too.’

Auckland Airport would clearly benefit from any rail link with the city. So, Bridges et al are waiting for them to come to the party. If we’re talking light rail – trams – then Dominion Road businesses and residential properties should also benefit in value uplift.

It’s a stand-off though. If the airport argues against paying more because the benefits won’t be that great, then the government can turn around and say, ‘ok well that’s a good argument for not needing to build the new connection’. If the government just starts funding the link itself, then it runs the risk of no-one else coming to the party. They also don't want to be seen starting the project with inclusion of value-uplift taxes that no-one agrees on - that's not the way this government wants to work.

In effect, the sticking point is a matter of principle. It’s a principled Mexican stand-off. Or a prisoners’ dilemma in a low-security prison.

Water pipe dream

The next stand-off is a key component in Auckland’s housing debate. Water pipes. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how the National Cabinet would love to take a swipe at the monopolistic, not-for-profit Watercare in Auckland. They’re getting nearer to it.

The Local Government Amendment Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced last year by former Local Government Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga. And boy was it popular. The Local Government Select Committee heard nearly 200 submissions on the Bill. They’ve now reported back with amendments. The Bill received a second reading last week.

The stand-off between local and central government on water pipes can best be summed up by a conversation between media and Local Government New Zealand a few weeks back. A lot of New Zealand’s water pipe infrastructure was put in in the 1960s, we were told. Those pipes had an expected lifetime of 60 years, so we’re heading towards an exponential renewals curve over the next 15 years for assets worth over $100 billion.

A couple of the journalists (including this correspondent) were a tad miffed by this. Did local councils know there was only a 60-year life span? “Yeah, they did,” was the reply. ““The renewals curve is not a surprise. But it’s here, now.”

So why haven’t councils planned over those 60 years to put replacement funds aside? The problem, we were told, was that in the 1960s a lot of the pipes were paid for by central government. Now, technically only local government is on the hook. “Under our current funding model, it’s rates and debt [to pay for it]. The issue becomes, is that a sustainable position? Our view is it is not.”

That’s why local government is calling on central government to agree to a co-funding model for the replacement of water pipes nationwide that are coming to the end of their working life (even though this was all known about for 60 years).

I asked Local Government New Zealand chairman Lawrence Yule whether they’d had any indications from central government that this could be done. He said central government had always indicated a willingness to look at it “but only once you’ve made sure what you’re doing currently is being done as efficiently as it can be.”

It’s a stand-off. Local government is refusing to consider how to fund replacement pipes until central government agrees to a co-funding model. Central government won’t agree to a co-funding model until local government gets its own house in order and ensures water services operations are as efficient as possible.

The issue got to a point where central government decided to try and take the initiative. This is where the Local Government Local Government Act Amendment Bill (No 2) comes in. Central government clearly believes things aren’t being done as efficiently as possible.

The Bill will allow various councils to band together to create Transport and Water Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) to provide services across several local authorities. Scale. It will also give greater scope for re-organisation of CCOs. As now-Local Government Minister Anne Tolley put it in Thursday’s second reading, it provides “an opportunity for the sector to show their local strategic leadership, which may require hard decisions about difficult options in order to secure a positive future for their communities.”

Let’s take Watercare. In its submission on the Bill (co-submitted with Auckland Council), it argued that since its first fully operational year in 2011/12, it has reduced the cost of water delivery to Aucklanders compared the rag-tag pricing run previously by individual councils pre-Super City.

That’s true. The $1.30 per thousand litres was below the range of $1.31-$3.50 encompassing Rodney, North Shore, Waitakere, Auckland, Manukau and Franklin. Job well done. Scale worked. But since then, that cost has risen each year to $1.44 per thousand litres in 2016/17. That’s not what central government (or Auckland residents) wanted to see.

A 2015 Cabinet paper introducing the Amendment Bill reveals what some Cabinet Ministers really wanted to do. The Local Government Minister at the time highlighted the potential benefits of requiring Watercare to have to pay a dividend (“distribute surpluses”) to the Council. This could encourage more efficient pricing of water services and allow it better access to finance.

However, due to the prospect of the move not being supported by “the community,” the idea was not included. Indeed, when the Local Government Select Committee reported the Bill back to the House in June, Section 70 was there prohibiting the distribution of surpluses by water services CCOs.

A pity. There is some exciting stuff in there, though. Central government is aiming to be imposing a number of requirements that I’m told are aimed at drastically changing the way Watercare operates.

The Productivity Commission’s 2016 report, Using Land for Housing, helped. Looking at Watercare from a housing supply lens, the Commission raised a number of concerns and recommendations which will partly be tackled by the Bill.

Firstly, Watercare’s Infrastructure Growth Charges (IGCs) do not recover the full costs of growth (new pipes for new housing), the Commission pointed out. Although initially this could produce benefits for new home buyers not paying the full cost for water infrastructure, deficits will need to be recovered from somewhere. Recovery from existing residents will reduce community acceptance of growth, limiting the supply of infrastructure-enabled land, therefore contributing to higher house prices.

Watercare needed to change how it calculates charges to better reflect the underlying economic costs of supply in different locations and for different types of dwelling, the Commission said. This linked in with criticisms of Watercare’s model of charging flat fees.

“To the extent that certain types of development result in lower infrastructure costs than others, a flat charge will result in a cross-subsidy between different types of dwelling. This might result in a situation in which smaller and more affordable dwellings are cross-subsidising larger standalone dwellings.”

The Bill requires Watercare to shift away from the IGC model to a development contribution model. It has until 30 June 2018 at the latest to figure out how to best make the switch.

Meanwhile, the Commission urged Watercare to consider development agreements, which would enable private developers to take responsibility for building trunk infrastructure. It referenced research that developers may be able to provide infrastructure solutions at lower costs than Watercare, particularly due to ‘over specification’ required by Watercare.

“Watercare notes that development agreements have a range of advantages (eg, they provide a mechanism for bringing in private capital into the provision of public infrastructure) and disadvantages (eg, the time required to prepare and finalise the agreements, especially if more than one developer/landowner is involved). The obligation to consider requests from a developer to enter into development agreements and provide the developer with a written response would not compel Watercare and other CCOs to enter agreements where there are good reasons not to. But a requirement to set out in writing why a development agreement may not proceed would provide clarity and transparency about the reasons for the decision.”

The Bill doesn’t appear to go as far as the Commission would have hoped, but it does provide legislation for Watercare to be able to enter into development agreements.

Finally, the Commission appeared horrified that for both Auckland Transport and Watercare, “supply of infrastructure to support growth is not reflected in either organisation’s performance measures.”

“While the primary accountability documents for Watercare and Auckland Transport (the Statements of Intents) are broadly aligned with the Auckland Plan vision, they do not give effect to the specific objective in the Auckland Plan to increase the city’s supply of new dwellings,” it said.

“Auckland Transport and Watercare’s SOIs should be amended to include performance measures relating to the efficient roll-out of new infrastructure to support an increased supply of new dwellings.

“The regulatory and institutional framework around the water sector can be improved. Discipline and transparency around the pricing of water services, and better performance monitoring, would improve the ability of the water sector to support urban growth,” the Commission said.

The Bill includes provision for Council input on CCO statements of intent and for performance monitoring. Each CCO – ie Watercare – must provide its shareholders the opportunity to influence the direction of the organisation, and must provide a basis for the accountability of the directors to their shareholders for the performance of the organisation.

And that performance monitoring? A local authority must undertake regular performance monitoring to evaluate a CCO’s contribution to the achievement of the authority’s objectives for the organisation, the desired results set out in its SOI and the overall aims and outcomes of the local authority.

What’s yet to be seen, however, is whether the changes would have such an effect as to fix the pending funding crisis for water pipe replacement and extension. I would think not. But with this Bill, central and local government will both be able to tap the argument that councils and their organisations have reached, or will soon reach efficiency limits.

And that’s the trigger for central government coming to the funding party.


           Gatwick boss: We can drive growth with new runway    
The airport announced a new service to Taiwan operated by China Airlines, and this weekend declared it now has more long-haul flights than any other airport with just one runway.
           SIMON WATKINS: Lack of certainty hitting households    
That means danger for the wider economy, which has become too dependent on consumer spending for its growth.
          World Bank projects Croatia's growth in 2015 at 1.5%   

In order to ensure macroeconomic stability and growth, it is essential to continue dealing with fiscal weaknesses and the high rates of inactivity and unemployment and to resolutely implement long-term structural reforms


          Senior Product Manager, Social Casino - Zynga - Toronto, ON   
Zynga is looking for a Senior Product Manager with exceptional growth hacking skills to join our Slots team! Senior Product Manager....
From Zynga - Tue, 13 Jun 2017 22:45:52 GMT - View all Toronto, ON jobs
          'We don't need you anymore' Poles snub Britain's Brexit in favour of China and Middle East   


BUOYED by an economic growth forecast, Polish workers have started to ditch the "sinking ship" of Britain, and attract businesses from China and the Middle East.
          RN Registered Nurse - Heritage Enterprises - Walnut, IL   
Due to our continued growth, we are seeking caring and compassionate RNs to join our team. In this position, you will play a key role serving as a clinical
From Heritage Enterprises - Wed, 14 Jun 2017 20:31:07 GMT - View all Walnut, IL jobs
          Enhance Your Business by Real Estate Podcast   
RSN's Podcast helps improvement and growth in real estate business and models. So take advantage
          Growth and Development Officer - The Scout Association - Home Based   
Past or present adult membership of Scouting or Guiding is an advantage together with an understanding of issues facing youth and community services.... £25,741 a year
From The Scout Association - Thu, 01 Jun 2017 15:56:38 GMT - View all Home Based jobs
          Cops comb for bald man who swiped Rogaine in Detroit area   
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- Police in suburban Detroit can skip barbershops as they search for a man who stole a hair growth product....
          7 Marketing Tools to Grow Your E-Commerce Business   
The right tools can help you accelerate growth and simplify day to day activities. Email marketing is one of the most effective channels for eCommerce sales and growth, and MailChimp is one the best tools to manage it. MailChimp has an interesting ...
          Email Marketing Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecasts 2016–2024   
Zion Market Research, the market research group announced the analysis report titled "Email Marketing Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecasts 2016–2024" Today is the era of Internet and communicatin... [article continues]
          Branch Manager - ResCare - Charleston, SC   
Managing the business growth and development process, including managing multiple territories, conducting marketing campaigns, identifying leads, conducting...
From ResCare - Fri, 26 May 2017 15:10:45 GMT - View all Charleston, SC jobs
          Melayu Boleh! Phenomenal   
The phenomenal growth of Malaysia under the leadership of its previous prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad has brought about a patriotic sense of achievement amongst its people especially Melayu

The Government has led the way to show that Malay can (Melayu boleh) excel in whatever they put their minds to, and this, in no small way, has produced a society that tries to outdo itself (sometimes at ridiculous levels, if truth be told) in the endeavours it pursues.

Embodying this spirit is the slogan "Melayu Boleh!" which loosely translated means "Malays Can Do It!" How this slogan came to be the "battle cry" of a Malay politic party is rather sketchy but the general belief is that it was the slogan used by a health beverage in its marketing campaign in the 80s until now.

It caught on and soon cries of Melayu Boleh! Were heard, first only at political events like the Malay Politic Conference then later everywhere else as it was embraced wholeheartedly by the Malay people as a means to push them to endure and accept challenge, to set targets, to excel.

The "Melayu Boleh!" spirit has since produced many achievers and achievements, and has been a cornerstone of the success story that is the new Malaysia.

Source taken from http://sexmelayuboleh.blogspot.com

          Accountancy apprentice - Clement Browne Ltd - Rettendon   
Due to continued growth we are looking for someone to learn all aspects of Accountancy and general admin tasks to help and support the growth of the business.... £8,640 - £9,600 a year
From Indeed - Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:23:16 GMT - View all Rettendon jobs
          As Amazon goes, so goes the Puget Sound area   
Amazon announced on Thursday that it’s adding 100,000 jobs nationwide by the middle of 2018. It's a huge growth spurt for the Seattle-based company. The hiring will boost Amazon's U.S. workforce from 180,000 to 280,000 people in just 18 months time. The company had just 30,000 workers back in 2010.
          01/07/2017: PUZZLES: Omega Diagnostics wins backing as revenues increase   
OMEGA Diagnostics has secured £2.6 million growth funding from investors as the company prepares for the launch of its HIV testing kit following delays. Alva-based Omega said the funding will allow the firm to capitalise on the growth opportunities...
          Don't Blame "Baby Boomers" For Not Retiring - They Can't Afford To!   
In business, the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers. In an economy where more than 2/3rds of the growth rate is driven by consumption, an even bigger imbalance of the “have” and “have not’s” presents a major headwind.
          Kudlow: Donald Trump Is the middle-class growth candidate   
Trump is the pro-growth candidate in this race. Hillary Clinton is the anti-growth candidate. Trump wants to expand national income and the economic pie. Clinton wants to redistribute income and shrink the pie. In past columns, I have equated Trump's tax-reduction plan to the JFK and Ronald Reagan tax cuts, which generated economic booms of roughly 5 percent growth per year. President Barack Obama, by comparison, has raised taxes, spending, and regulations, producing the worst recovery since World War II. And Clinton intends to follow in Obama's footsteps with a Bernie Sanders-like, left-wing policy mix. She is the Democrats' anti-JFK....
          Bär & Karrer advises Azimut on acquisition of SDB shares   

AZ Swiss & Partners SA (Swiss subsidiary of the Azimut Group) recently signed an agreement to acquire the entire share capital of SDB Financial Solutions, a Swiss independent asset management company and fund distributor authorised by FINMA. With this second acquisition and given its organic growth strategy, Bär & Karrer acts as legal adviser to […]

The post Bär & Karrer advises Azimut on acquisition of SDB shares appeared first on The Lawyer | Legal News and Jobs | Advancing the business of law.


          Comment on Trump Takes Aim at Energy R&D Funds by Zero   
Unfortunately there is an imbalance in the financial beneficiaries of government research. I believe that until a more comprehensive equitable way of distributing profits from tax payer funded research, the research should be halted. Electric car development absent an equal "home" development program is an imbalance and will only result in greatly higher electricity rates for homeowners. The government has no right to select winners and losers. Decentralize the profits by providing significant subsidies, not the low subsidies and incentives now in place, directly to homeowners to install energy efficient systems including solar and wind. Decentralized, not centralized benefits are the key and a proper pathway to balanced and more sustainable growth while at the same time closing the income and wealth gap exacerbated by centralized profit models.
          Latinos Key To U.S. Economic Growth, Study Finds   
In 2015, the 55 million Latinos living and working in the U.S. were responsible for $2.13 trillion -- or 11.8% -- of America's $18.04 trillion gross domestic product, according to a study released Thursday by the Latino Donors Collaborative.
          This Popular Island Destination Is Exporting Monkeys for Cruel Experiments   
Mauritius is one of the world's largest suppliers of non-human primates for inhumane medical experiments.

Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean, is a dream holiday destination for tourists from all over the world. It is famous for its beautiful beaches, lagoons, tropical climate, heritage sites, lush forests and wildlife. Yet, this idyllic location is also infamous for a sinister reason—the cruel exploitation of its population of monkeys. Mauritius is one of the world’s largest participants in the cruel trade of supplying non-human primates for experiments. In 2016, 8,245 long-tailed macaques were exported from Mauritius to the USA, Canada and Europe with 3,522 imported by the USA, the largest importer of monkeys from Mauritius.

In Mauritius, the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) lives freely. However, the species is not considered indigenous, despite having been well-established on the island for about 400 years. Although the species is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), there exists no legislation to protect the primates of Mauritius. Instead, they are widely persecuted and exploited.

Historically, monkeys were trapped in the wild to be shipped overseas. Following international condemnation of the trade in wild-caught primates, tens of thousands of primates are now held in farms across Mauritius. Many of these animals were captured from the wild and are now imprisoned in these farms and used for breeding. Denied their freedom in the lush foliage of their jungle homes, these individuals spend their lives behind bars, on concrete. Their offspring are transported as ‘cargo’ in small wooden crates on airplanes to laboratories around the world to feed the international research industry.

Tourism is a key pillar of the economy of Mauritius and contributes significantly to the economic growth of the island. Mauritius is also promoting the island’s image as a green, eco-friendly tourist destination. The reputation of Mauritius as a country where the environment is valued is being put at risk by the export of monkeys for cruel experiments. Added to this is the introduction of recent regulations that will, for the first time, allow such experiments to be carried out on the island itself. The main species to be used in the research will be the country’s population of long-tailed macaques.

It cannot be argued that the economic benefits of the monkey trade and potential revenue from experiments are more important than tourism. Even a brief glance at the figures shows this controversial trade, worth less than 2 percent of Mauritian export, is economically insignificant compared with the income that Mauritius receives from its tourism industry. It is well-established that if a country develops a reputation for unkind treatment of animals, it has a very strong negative effect on tourism.

An additional factor to consider which is equally puzzling is that Hinduism is the largest religion in Mauritius. The country has the third highest percentage of Hindus in the world after Nepal and India. Lord Hanuman, the monkey god, is one of the most popular idols in the Hindu religion and is worshipped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance and devotion. The trade in primates on Mauritius clearly is contrary to the very concept of Hindu culture and society which emphasises the spiritual equality of all living beings.

There are concerns that the introduction of animal experiments to Mauritius is primarily to provide a new market for the primate breeding companies and a reaction to problems with airlines refusing to transport primates for research purposes, moves to impose tighter restrictions on the import of primates within the European Union and a growing public concern about the use of primates in research. Animal researchers and companies may be looking to travel to Mauritius to carry out research that would not be allowed to take place in their own country.

A glance at the new regulations governing the experiments shows that substantial sections have simply been taken from EU and UK legislation, but this has not been consistently done, so there are significant gaps and contradictions. For example, there is no provision for governmental inspections of laboratories. Nor are there any rules in the regulations about the housing, environment and enrichment to be provided to animals. Furthermore, transparency and accountability appear to be absent because, although there is a requirement for researchers to submit records to the government, there is no provision for the government to subsequently put such information into the public domain. 

The long-tailed macaque is the most widely traded primate species for research worldwide and the most widely-traded mammal on the CITES database. In the laboratory, these primates may suffer substantially, including the effects of poisoning (such as vomiting, internal bleeding, weight loss, organ failure and even death) after being forced to consume large quantities of chemicals or drugs in toxicity tests or face being subjected to major brain surgery, their skulls cut open and devices implanted into their brains.

Examples of recent research carried out on long-tailed macaques in the USA makes disturbing reading: 1) experiments that have attempted to mimic traumatic military injuries; 2) forced addiction to recreational drugs such as alcohol and cocaine; 3) injections with phencyclidine (PCP or ‘angel dust’) and 4) forced inhaling of cigarette smoke several hours a day (for some monkeys it was the equivalent of a person smoking four packs of cigarettes a day).

The development of alternative methods to using animals is a growing and pioneering field. There is now a wide range of more human-relevant and humane approaches and animal tests are being replaced in areas such as toxicity testing, neuroscience and drug development. These alternatives include cell, tissue and organ cultures; methods using chemistry, computers or imaging machines; and ethical and highly effective studies using human volunteers.

Cruelty Free International is dedicated to ending this cruel exploitation of the Mauritius monkeys. We believe that the focus for Mauritius should instead be on these new technologies for non-animal experiments and we are urging Mauritius to become a forward-thinking country that adopts humane and cutting-edge alternatives. Mauritius’ image abroad is already tarnished because of its role in the cruel international trade in monkeys for research. Allowing animal experiments to take place will have a further negative impact and likely result in further widespread protest.

Our campaign has received widespread support from around the world, including in Mauritius, by scientists, wildlife experts, politicians and socio-cultural groups as well as members of the public. Indian politician Maneka Gandhi and internationally renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall have also voiced their concerns.

There are three actions you can take to support our campaign to protect the monkeys of Mauritius and let government officials know that what they are doing is unacceptable:

1. Send an email/letter to the Mauritius Embassy in Washington:

mauritius.embassy@verizon.net

washingtonemb@govmu.org

H. E. Mr S. Phokeer

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Mauritius Embassy

1709 N. Street, NW

Washington D.C. 20036

2. Send an email/letter to the Minister of Tourism in Mauritius:

mtou@govmu.org

The Hon Anil Kumarsingh GAYAN, SC

Minister of Tourism

Ministry of Tourism

Level 5, Air Mauritius Centre

John Kennedy Street

Port Louis

Mauritius

3. Sign this petition.

 

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Kollaasi_fb_shared_700x525px.png

The aim of the government-supported campaign that launched in 2015 was to raise 20 million euros as monetary donations and further increase the number of Aalto University supporters. The Finnish government will match the donations by an estimated factor of 1 to 1.5. The government's supplementary funding and exact matching factor will be announced at a later date. The campaign ends on 30 June 2017.

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The campaign allowed donors to target their donations to the University's activities in general or to one of three fields: business, art and design, or technology.

Aalto University focuses on top-quality research and teaching. Supporting the enthusiasm of our students and preparing them for future working life are our most important objectives.

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The additional funding generated by this capital income will help the University to remain economically independent and improve the University's capacity for directing resources towards strategic focus areas and develop its activities as a top university. In the coming years, the capital gains will be used to cover around 5 % of the University's annual operating budget.

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Media Relations Contact

Adam Green
Wasatch Contract Manufacturing
Telephone: 801-809-7766
Email: Click to Email Adam Green
Web: http://wasatchcontractmanufacturing.com


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e: ops@WasatchContractManufacturing.com

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To proactively serve our business community by providing solutions in personal care, business development and liquid nutrition.

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Large Utah Companies: They help large companies diversify and respond to changes in the market. Many large companies are developing new product lines in high-demand mitochondrial anti-senescence, neuro peptides, and acne products. Wasatch Contract Manufacturing is a cGMP, FDA, EPA, and ATF compliant facility. Wasatch has been formulating liquid products for over twenty years without an FDA violation. Call their operations manager today to learn how Wasatch can help a company move forward.

About Wasatch Product Development
Wasatch Product Development is focused on providing the most responsive and flexible service in the industry and has a diverse clientele ranging from leading global companies to virtual and emerging entities. With unmatched technical expertise, innovative equipment and regulatory knowledge, Wasatch maintains a demonstrated record with the FDA as well as with its customers; many of whom have outsourced with the company for over ten years. The Wasatch Product Development's lab is compliant with Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) along with being registered and certified by the ATF, and FDA. Wasatch has been developing and manufacturing several unique products for many of the World's most successful consumer product companies since 1998.

http://wasatchcontractmanufacturing.com/

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/cottonwood-west-utah-reason-192-why-outsourcing-your-happicom-liposome-personal-care-product-development-cleanser-with-utah-based-wasatch-labs-wasatchcontractmanufacturingcom-is-a-wise-cosmetic-decision-825864.htm

Media Relations Contact

Adam Green
Wasatch Contract Manufacturing
Telephone: 801-809-7766
Email: Click to Email Adam Green
Web: http://wasatchcontractmanufacturing.com


          Cottonwood Heights, UTAH Reason #193 Why Sourcing Your Happi.com Liposome Skin Care Product Development (Moisturizer) with Utah-Based 'Wasatch Labs' (www.WasatchContractManufacturing.com) is a Wise Cosmetic Decision   

Cottonwood Heights, UT -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/29/2017 -- Wasatch Product Development is focused on providing the most responsive and flexible service in the industry and has a diverse clientele ranging from leading global companies to virtual and emerging entities. With unmatched technical expertise, innovative equipment and regulatory knowledge, Wasatch maintains a demonstrated record with the FDA as well as with its customers; many of whom have outsourced with the company for over ten years. The Wasatch Product Development's lab is compliant with Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) along with being registered and certified by the ATF, and FDA. Wasatch has been developing and manufacturing several unique products for many of the World's most successful consumer product companies since 1998.

Contact COO Adam Green Today!
c: 801-809-7766
e: ops@WasatchContractManufacturing.com

- Get a Quote Now! 
http://wasatchcontractmanufacturing.com/contact-us/

Mission Statement
To proactively serve our business community by providing solutions in personal care, business development and liquid nutrition.

Vision Statement
To provide leadership in establishing our client's international businesses, being built on a foundation of innovation, advocacy, technology and business integrity.

http://wasatchcontractmanufacturing.com/

~Wasatch Labs' Core Competencies are:

Anti-Aging
Gene Expression
Neuro-Peptides
Cosme-ceuticals (Skin Care)
Skin "Energy Systems"
OTC Products (Sanitizers, SunScreens, etc)
SPF: Sun Protection
Liquid Nutritionals and Juices
Unique Skin Treatments (Intimacy, Sanitation, and "plumping" products)

Think of Wasatch Labs when you are considering sourcing a secondary manufacturer for your existing products or perhaps a reliable, experienced laboratory for product development.

~Wasatch Lab's Competitive Advantages include:

In-House Capabilities (Packaging Engineering, Formula Development, Manufacturing)
International Capabilities
Total Customer Support
Complete Supply Chain Management
cGMP

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https://vimeo.com/75658706

Whatever the size of the anti-aging product corporation, Wasatch Contract Manufacturing can take it to the next level. They provide packaging engineering, formula development, private labeling, and manufacturing of liquid products. Small Companies: They help small companies identify their industry niche, develop proprietary formulas, and make a strong debut on the market. Many of their current Salt Lake City start-ups are focused on emerging Utah and national markets: gene expression, skin energy systems, specialty sun care, and anti-aging.

Medium Size Companies: Wasatch helps medium companies refine their product lines, improve quality, and manage production growth.

Large Utah Companies: They help large companies diversify and respond to changes in the market. Many large companies are developing new product lines in high-demand mitochondrial anti-senescence, neuro peptides, and acne products. Wasatch Contract Manufacturing is a cGMP, FDA, EPA, and ATF compliant facility. Wasatch has been formulating liquid products for over twenty years without an FDA violation. Call their operations manager today to learn how Wasatch can help a company move forward.

About Wasatch Product Development
Wasatch Product Development is focused on providing the most responsive and flexible service in the industry and has a diverse clientele ranging from leading global companies to virtual and emerging entities. With unmatched technical expertise, innovative equipment and regulatory knowledge, Wasatch maintains a demonstrated record with the FDA as well as with its customers; many of whom have outsourced with the company for over ten years. The Wasatch Product Development's lab is compliant with Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) along with being registered and certified by the ATF, and FDA. Wasatch has been developing and manufacturing several unique products for many of the World's most successful consumer product companies since 1998.

http://wasatchcontractmanufacturing.com/

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/cottonwood-heights-utah-reason-193-why-sourcing-your-happicom-liposome-skin-care-product-development-moisturizer-with-utah-based-wasatch-labs-wwwwasatchcontractmanufacturingcom-is-a-wise-cosmetic-decision-825865.htm

Media Relations Contact

Adam Green
Wasatch Contract Manufacturing
Telephone: 801-809-7766
Email: Click to Email Adam Green
Web: http://wasatchcontractmanufacturing.com


          Russian Vine Pests   

I know that Russian Vines are pretty indestructible, but something appears to be making a good job of killing mine!

The leaves and tips of the new shoots seem to be being eaten by something (great big chunks out of the leaves, new shoots brown and dead). Despite thorough investigation, I can't see any aphids or bugs on the plant. The same thing happened last year and it never flowered or grew much. I moved it to a new site (full sun, plenty of moisture), thinking the growth was being stunted by its' location (by my shed, in dry shade near a large pine tree) and applied liberal doses of bug killer. I also have a Japanese Quince and a clematis nearby, and neither of these are affected.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what might be attacking it? I think this plant is beyond salvaging, but I'd like to know if any replacements will suffer a similar fate (I'm thinking of clematis montana or a climbing hydrangea - anything that'll go rampant and disguise an ugly shed and corner and, preferably, is self-supporting).


          Black lesions on pear tree leaves and stems   

 

 We have 3 pear trees planted 2010 as 3 yr old trees. This year all three have black spots and lesions concentrated along the central rib of the leaves. Virtually all the leaves are affected. The worst affected tree also has black areas on the new growth shoots, which look like they are all dying. There are small cracked and peeling areas on the bark of all the trees, nothing oozing from them. We have searched the RHS book on Pests and Diseases but are at a loss to identify.

 WISE ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS INC. EXPANDING appeared first on Wise Environmental Solutions INC.


          Better branding, style positioning can boost textile sector: Experts   

Better branding, style positioning can boost textile sector: ExpertsGandhinagar, July 1 (IANS) Emphasising that India's textile industry has the potential to double its growth rate, textile giants on Saturday stressed on strategic branding and style positioning in the industry. On the second day of India's first-ever textile extravaganza -- Textiles India 2017, participants discussed the future of textile industry, colour and design, along with what the future holds for India's traditional handmade carpet industry as well as its tribal weaves. Eric Duchamp, Worldwide CEO, Peclers Paris, stated that India's textile industry has the potential to double its current rate of growth.



          New businesses offered support to help elevate them to success   
FLEDGLING businesses in Oxfordshire are being offered a helping hand from a new scheme offering grants and expert advice to get them off the ground and boost their growth.
          Wireless Retail Sales Associate - Citadel Mall - Sprint by MobileNow - Charleston, SC   
We have 100+ locations nationwide with plans for continued growth. Wireless Retail Sales Associate.... $10 - $14 an hour
From Sprint by MobileNow - Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:07:51 GMT - View all Charleston, SC jobs
          Manager, Plant - Weston Foods - Maplehurst, NB   
Identify growth opportunities and build business cases to make recommendations to senior management team for investment to meet capacity/expansion needs or to...
From Weston Foods - Wed, 07 Jun 2017 14:40:20 GMT - View all Maplehurst, NB jobs
          French Bilingual Call Centre Outbound Sales Representative - Scotiabank - Ontario   
2201 Eglinton Avenue East Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. Assist in and contribute to the development and growth of profitable business across the protection,...
From Scotiabank - Tue, 27 Jun 2017 06:46:03 GMT - View all Ontario jobs
          How Hong Kong's Banks Turned Chinese   
Each morning, a white-shirted army of bankers fills the crosswalks of Hong Kong, stopping and starting in unison to the ubiquitous chirping of the city's crosswalk signals, a sound eerily reminiscent of a Las Vegas slot machine room. Twenty years ago, the traders and account managers crossing these streets were mostly expatriates and local Hong Kongers, and when they arrived to the office, much of their business was done in English. That's changed. "Actually, Hong Kong is shifting its role from Asia financial center to supporting the growth of China now," says William Hon, a trader for Liquidnet, a U.S. equity broker. Hon was born and grew up in Hong Kong, but at the office, he's finding more and more of his colleagues hail from mainland China. "More and more Chinese companies would like to list on the Hong Kong exchange, so they are all in China, and they're talking Mandarin," Hon says. "So they need more fluent Mandarin speakers in Hong Kong, or they hire people from China to work in
          Sony Will Start Making Vinyl Records Again In Japan, After A Nearly 30-Year Hiatus   
Sony Music is preparing to make its own vinyl records again in Japan, in another sign that albums are back from the brink of being obsolete. The company says it's installing record-cutting equipment and enlisting the help of older engineers who know how to reproduce the best sound. Vinyl sales have seen a resurgence since around 2008. And while records are still a small part of the market, the fact that in 2016, "a format nearly a century old generated 3.6 percent of total global revenues is remarkable," as NPR's Andrew Flanagan has reported. Years of double-digit growth in record sales have left vinyl press plants in the U.S., Japan and elsewhere struggling to meet demand. Sony's plan reportedly includes the possibility that it will press records on contract. As the creator of the Walkman and a co-developer of the CD format, Sony helped to end the era of vinyl albums. And while sales of digital music have been hit in recent years by the popularity of streaming audio on Spotify,
          Making Cities Smarter With Connected Cars   
Five words or less(NewsUSA) - We live in an age of new mobility, where the landscape of our digital life is expanding and evolving at unprecedented speed. Wireless connectivity has spread from computers and smartphones to cars, homes and cities, and it's simplifying and improving our way of living. The rise of "smart" objects and machines powered by machine-to-machine (M2M) technology has been a huge catalyst for the Internet of Things -- a web of connected objects and devices that communicate with one another to make life easier. The automotive industry is leading the way forward with more than 23 million connected cars on the road today and projections for 152 million by 2020. Connected cars enhance our lives with rich services, including advanced 3D navigation, automatic emergency calling when accidents occur and always-on mobile WiFi. They can automatically exchange information with other smart objects, such as traffic lights, to help reduce road congestion and improve navigation. They can also direct drivers to the nearest open parking spot and turn on the heat and stereo system before arriving home. The possibilities are exciting and limited only by our ability to securely manage wireless service plans for the long life of vehicles and smart city solutions. Until recently, updating connected car systems was costly and time-consuming, requiring a visit to a dealership to change electronic components embedded under the dashboard. Consumers will soon be able to securely update wireless features and even add new vehicles or smart home devices to existing mobile service plans via a mobile device app or website visit. The new "on-demand connectivity" solution makes it much easier to adopt new technology or instantly take advantage of special offers without additional service contracts or monthly invoices. "In an increasingly connected world, it is vital to remove barriers for growth," said Gemalto Vice President Juan Lazcano. "On Demand Connectivity allows people to easily manage their connected devices while helping mobile network operators improve service offerings and customer loyalty. It's a win-win scenario." The best part is Gemalto's solution adds a layer of data security that ensures personal information is protected when service plan updates are made. This allows all of us to trust in the connected cars and smart cities of the future. For more information, visit www.gemalto.com/iot.
          DevOps Enterprise Summit London Speakers Share Valuable Lessons and Patterns That Led to Success   

DevOps Enterprise Summit London 2017 (DOES17) speakers recently shared challenges and advice they have faced along their DevOps journeys. While proven tools and best practices are well-known, most every enterprise leader facing a technology transformation journey will agree that there is plenty of room for learning and growth. The beautiful thing about the DevOps Enterprise […]

The post DevOps Enterprise Summit London Speakers Share Valuable Lessons and Patterns That Led to Success appeared first on IT Revolution.


          Abeus posted a blog post   
Abeus posted a blog post

[OOC] Phase 497 (AKA A New Website

Sooooo...the long and short of it is this: InSilico has a new website. I asked awhile ago that people backup what they could of their postings, and this is why. This situation isn't an ideal one, so I'll just jump into a preemptive FAQ here to address the what, whys and hows.Q: What is the new website? A: insilico.online (yes, that is the URL. http://www.insilico.online)Q: Why is the INSILICO website moving?A: Because we are not in a position to have confidence in the Ning platform. The Ning company has changed hands at least a couple times in recent months, and that has coincided with an increased number of technical issues that are slow to be acknowledged...let alone resolved. We also don't currently have access to the original creator account, which means our hands are tied when it comes to supporting it. We don't even know for certain when the next renewal date is. Despite having my payment info on file, Ning has been non-responsive to inquiries. There's also the lack of development, growth, etc. that has contributed to this.Q: Who is hosting the site now?A: We moved to Enjinn. It was robust enough to deliver on most of the features we need, and it could be deployed quickly. Given that we don't know when the Ning might go POOF, we were time conscious here. We wanted to make sure we had something in place quickly that would allow for only a minimum of disruption. Ideally I would have preferred to have everything self hosted, but that takes time and devoting resources into developing. Given the constraints, this was a good alternative.Q: What new features are there?A: Enjinn is forum based, so it is decidedly more robust in that aspect than the Ning is. I've created both IC and OOC forums, blog forums, and a number of other features to try to make it feel more "IC". It is still a work in progress as to how things might be presented, but the core is there. There is also a new wiki, events calendar, chat rooms, profile spaces, and a tag system which allows us to make areas visible only for specific groups/factions. Application forms will be integrated for things like player rentals and group membership. Q: What's going to happen to all the INSILICO content on Ning? A: That's a good question, but there is no definitive solution. I've gotten the basic setting overviews up in the new wiki, and I am continuing to cull the Ning for information and specifics that will be given dedicated wiki pages. I'm also using that to construct a historical timeline which players can use more efficiently than searching blog posts. Again, work in progress here, but nothing that would prohibit using and adding to the new site.As far as player content, pictures, blogs, etc...that's a bit more difficult. Ning has an archive utility, but that requires access to the creator account (which we don't have). However, as far as we can tell, there isn't an efficient way to import content from one site to the other either. At the very least I'm hoping that we can archive the Ning site so that the data is all backed up. Other than that, we're starting from scratch. You can manually post whatever blogs that you want to have on the new site. I do ask that everyone only import what is essential for now (random pictures/video etc that aren't important to the story should be given low priority. With any luck I will be able to get an archive of those up at some point in the future). I know this isn't going to make some people happy, but it's the best that we can offer at the moment. I will keep everyone updated on our progress, one way or another.Q: What happens now?A: At least that's an easier question. Go to the new site, join it, and start using it. We will not be approving any new Ning sign-ups going forward. I may post updates about the new site here too just to cover all ground, but everything else will be done over at insilico.online. So update your bookmarks. For the next couple weeks, there will be no applications or approval needed for "new" members. Since the majority of sign-ups will be for current InSilico players, we don't want there to be any bottlenecks in the migration process. After things have stabilized (and any bugs discovered), we can get things back to normal.See More

          METALS-Copper slips from three-month peak on dollar, inventory rise   
LONDON, June 30- Copper retreated from a three-month high on Friday, pressured by a firmer dollar and a rise in inventories, offsetting better than expected factory growth in top metals consumer China. China's factories grew at the quickest pace in three months in June, buoyed by strong new orders in a sign of stabilizing growth, though analysts expect a further...
          METALS-Copper slips on firmer dollar, rise in inventories   
LONDON, June 30- Copper prices dipped on Friday, pressured by a firmer dollar and a rise in inventories, offsetting better than expected factory growth in top metals consumer China. China's factories grew at the quickest pace in three months in June, buoyed by strong new orders in a sign of stabilising growth, though analysts expect a further slowdown in the...
          Sales Advisor - Le Pentagone - Dolbeau-mistassini, QC   
REQUIRED PROFILE As an ambassador for our brand and values, everyday, you will play a key role in the sales of our products and in contributing to the growth
From Le Pentagone - Mon, 19 Jun 2017 11:50:09 GMT - View all Dolbeau-mistassini, QC jobs
          Substitute Manager - Le Pentagone - Canada   
REQUIRED PROFILE As an ambassador for our brand and values, everyday, you will play a key role in the sales of our products and in contributing to the growth
From Le Pentagone - Mon, 19 Jun 2017 11:50:08 GMT - View all Canada jobs
          Millennium & Copthorne Middle East Holdings Limited: Director of Finance - Middle East & Africa   
Competitive: Millennium & Copthorne Middle East Holdings Limited: Welcome to our World Our Vision at Millennium & Copthorne Middle East and Africa is to be the preferred hotel company for our guests, colleagues, and owners while achieving exceptional growth. We have an Ambition to operate 100 preferred hotels by yea AE-DU-Dubai
          Millennium & Copthorne - Millennium Hotel & Convention Centre Kuwait: Receivable Supervisor   
Competitive: Millennium & Copthorne - Millennium Hotel & Convention Centre Kuwait: Welcome to our World Our Vision at Millennium & Copthorne Middle East & Africa is to be the preferred hotel company for our guests, colleagues, and owners while achieving exceptional growth. We have an Ambition to operate 100 preferred hotels by year KW-HA-Salmiya
          Millennium Plaza Doha: General Cashier   
Competitive: Millennium Plaza Doha: Welcome to our World Our Vision at Millennium & Copthorne Middle East and Africa is to be the preferred hotel company for our guests, colleagues, and owners while achieving exceptional growth. We have an Ambition to operate 100 preferred hotels by year 20 QA-DA-Doha
          Millennium & Copthorne - MILLENNIUM HOTEL DOHA: Cluster Director of Finance   
Competitive: Millennium & Copthorne - MILLENNIUM HOTEL DOHA: Welcome to Our World! Our Vision at Millennium & Copthorne Middle East and Africa is to be the preferred hotel company for our guests, colleagues and owners achieving exceptional growth. We have an ambition to operate 100 preferred hotels by year 2 QA-DA-Doha
          Millennium Plaza Doha: Accounts Payable   
Competitive: Millennium Plaza Doha: Welcome to our World Our Vision at Millennium & Copthorne Middle East and Africa is to be the preferred hotel company for our guests, colleagues, and owners while achieving exceptional growth. We have an Ambition to operate 100 preferred hotels by year 20 QA-DA-Doha
          The Health Benefits of Copaiba Oil   
The Health Benefits of Copaiba Oil Copaiba oil is an extract made from Copaiba tree, and is commonly found in South America. The oil of copaiba has been used for centuries in South American countries to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, kill germs and bacteria, heal wounds, and inhibit tumor growth. Laboratory research supports the use […]
          Accountancy apprentice - Clement Browne Ltd - Rettendon   
Due to continued growth we are looking for someone to learn all aspects of Accountancy and general admin tasks to help and support the growth of the business.... £8,640 - £9,600 a year
From Indeed - Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:23:16 GMT - View all Rettendon jobs
          Cruising the Web   
For all those people who think that Trump's tweets are brilliant at reaching the public and throwing his opponents off balance or whatever other bit of analysis used to show that somehow he's playing three-dimensional chess while the rest of the world can't even set up the checker board, is this really a set of tweets that makes you proud that he's your president?




These morning tweets follow other tweets touting ones supporting policy actions by his administration and the GOP. Does he think anyone will pay attention to any of that when he's tweeting comments on a morning show's appearance and the show's ratings? It's as if he's taken a master a class on self-sabotage.

Isn't he supposed to be in the middle of trying to help a GOP repeal of Obamacare?

Remember when conservatives ridiculed Obama interview talking to GloZell, the woman who is mainly known for eating cereal while sitting in a bathub of milk or going on Between Two Ferns? Well, was any of that less respectful of the office of the presidency than such tweets? I have come to regard Trump's tweets as a verbal expression of his id. That is the level he operates at and we get a glimpse at what impulses control him through Twitter. All his advisers urging him to focus on policy and presenting an image of gravitas are the ego trying to mediate between those impulses and reality. They might win out for hours, even days sometimes, but the id is there ready to take over.

There used to be a time when Republicans claimed that character mattered in the presidency. Today...not so much.

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Canada thinks it can control the Internet.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Google on Wednesday in a closely-watched intellectual property case over whether judges can apply their own country's laws to all of the Internet.

In a 7-2 decision, the court agreed a British Columbia judge had the power to issue an injunction forcing Google to scrub search results about pirated products not just in Canada, but everywhere else in the world too.

Those siding with Google, including civil liberties groups, had warned that allowing the injunction would harm free speech, setting a precedent to let any judge anywhere order a global ban on what appears on search engines. The Canadian Supreme Court, however, downplayed this objection and called Google's fears "theoretical."
Charles C. W. Cooke comments,
That amusing episode of The I.T. Crowd notwithstanding, “the Internet” is not a single black box somewhere in London, but a massively decentralized network of networks that, while conforming to a few agreed-upon technical specifications, gives new meaning to the word “diffuse.” Or, put another way, “the Internet” is a patchwork quilt of cables, satellites, switches, service providers, cell phones, desktops, laptops, web-servers, and protocols that, taken together, forms the sprawling web to which we are all so accustomed. The beauty of this arrangement is that anybody can participate. Want to be the next Facebook? To start with, at least, all you’ll need is a domain name, an internet connection, and a computer, and . . . that’s it. Though there are certain breakpoints (IP allocation, root DNS, etc.), there is no central permission structure that newcomers have to navigate. It’s open. It’s wild. It’s wonderful.

Now, this is not to say that censorship is impossible. It’s not. If a government wishes to block access to a particular site within the physical borders over which it has jurisdiction, it can do so. Likewise, websites and services that contradict local law can be legally removed, and, if it so wishes, a government can demand that any organization operating on a network within its borders must conform to its rules. What it can’t do, however, is export those judgments abroad.

Suppose that I, a permanent resident of the United States, were to host a website that contained speech that was banned in, say, Germany. Certainly, the German authorities could prevent Germans from seeing my site. And, if anyone chose to mirror my site on server inside Germany, they could shut that person down quite quickly. But they couldn’t have me shut down in America, and they couldn’t prevent people in other countries from accessing my site over the web. My server would be in America, connected to a network in America, subject to the law in America, and guaranteed the protections to which Americans are entitled. The German government, annoyed as it might be, would have to accept that....

And that, ultimately, is why the Canadian Court’s decision is so hilarious. I understand why people are worried about the idea — if taken seriously, it would give any less-free-than-America country an effective veto over the First Amendment. But they shouldn’t fret too much: The judges can say what they like, but their edict is simply unenforceable. If it wishes to do so, the government of Canada can prevail upon Google to abide by its rules within Canada. In addition, it can regulate the web in Canada to prevent access to sites it dislike. But it can’t force Google in America or France or Australia or Singapore to do a single goddamned thing. And thank goodness for that, eh?
I hope that he is correct, but we've seen the EU slapping a $2.7 billion fine on Google because the EU thinks it violates antitrust for Google to promote Google Shopping sites over other shopping sites. I'm not sure what there is about a FREE service like Google that the Europeans don't understand. Are European citizens actually hurt by Google giving them a free shopping search engine and then putting their items at the top? Would they prefer to pay for their search engines? Please, just keep your hands off Google. As more countries try and figure out ways to make money off of fining Google, they should consider the unintended consequences.
“The EU has effectively decided that some companies have become too big to innovate,” Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, said in a statement following the Google Shopping decision. “The EU’s actions have created a cloud of uncertainty that will make large tech companies overly cautious about making changes to the user experience and service offerings that would benefit consumers.”

Jonathan Tobin applies Occam's Razor
to explain why Obama didn't do more about Russia's attempts to interfere in our election last year.
But the real problem here is not so much Barack Obama’s failure to act as the most plausible reason for his inaction: Vladimir Putin’s capers didn’t impact the election results.
Despite the efforts by Democrats to blame Russia for Hillary Clinton's loss and their frustration that Obama didn't do more about it, there really is no evidence that the WikiLeaks revelations from John Podesta's emails had any effect on the course of the election.
But there’s a simpler, even more plausible explanation for Obama’s inaction: The president saw that the hacking was having almost no impact on the course of the campaign and thus wasn’t going to mess with the results. Far from the crime of the century, it was, at worst, a minor annoyance to Clinton that Obama obviously felt didn’t warrant a major dustup with Putin.

It’s true that Russia’s actions were outrageous and deserved a strong US response, both then and now. It can also be argued that the public had a right to know about it. But it was only after Clinton lost and she and her supporters began searching for excuses that Russia’s actions were considered an important factor in the outcome.

While Putin was way out of line, the impact of the WikiLeaks document dumps on Clinton’s candidacy was marginal at best.

The contents of the Democratic National Committee e-mails were embarrassing to Podesta and then-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who wound up losing her job after proof of DNC collusion with Clinton against Bernie Sanders was produced. But there was almost nothing in those documents that related directly to Clinton, let alone being enough to influence voters.

Every WikiLeaks story was also almost immediately overshadowed by other, more damaging gaffes or revelations about Trump, such as his attack on a Gold Star family or the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape. Nothing the Russians did matched the damage done by either of those Trump disasters.
Instead of looking for some external events or action, just admit that Hillary was a lousy candidate. That should actually be comforting to the Democrats. With such a compromised candidate whom so many Americans just never liked, they still won the popular vote and came really close to winning the states that put Trump over the top. If they can pick a better candidate in 2020, and can make an appeal for the voters they lost in the Rust Belt, chances are pretty strong that they'll win that year. They should be more concerned about forging a message that doesn't repel independents and those voters they lost in 2016. That's their real challenge and focusing all the time on Russia, Russia, Russia won't help them achieve that goal.


Good to know.
Tell your friendly environmentalist activist. But they're not really interested.
The benefits of fracking far outweigh its costs not only economically, but environmentally, a Stanford University geophysicist said Friday.

After teaching geophysics at Stanford for 30 years Mark Zoback took the helm of Stanford's new Natural Gas Initiative three years ago, he said, because of gas's environmental benefits.

"We did it because there were so many important and obvious environmental benefits to the utilization of natural gas," Zoback said. "So it’s somewhat ironic to be asked to argue for the notion that these benefits outweigh the environmental costs, when it’s the environmental benefits that got me into this business in the first place."

Zoback's remarks opened the annual debate at Stanford's Silicon Valley Energy Summit, and were swiftly challenged by representatives of the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Counci
Zoback argued that natural gas can replace coal and "dirty diesel" at significant scale throughout the world, supporting economic growth while slashing carbon emissions. (When burned, natural gas emits about half the CO2 that coal does).

The Senate has some really dumb rules. And the minority party can use them to slow everything down to a standstill. Chuck Schumer is taking advantage of every tool that the rules provide.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer used an upper chamber procedure Wednesday to block a national security briefing hosted by the Senate Judiciary Committee, irritating Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley.

The rule that Schumer had invoked, which he has been exercising the use of over the past two weeks, blocks Senate committee business from happening two hours after the Senate convenes session for the day. Schumer has consistently used the procedure as a way to delay business in Senate to make demands on Republicans on the health care bill.

The rarely-used tactic has cut short a committee hearing on free speech, stopped a hearing on Russian meddling in the U.S. elections and blocked a mark-up to advance bipartisan anti-human trafficking legislation....

Grassley had sent a joint letter with subcommittee judiciary chairman Lindsey Graham to the FBI Tuesday requesting all documents related to the FBI FISA surveillance requests on the Russia investigation.

“Today, the Judiciary Committee was set to hear from senior intelligence officials about highly sensitive intelligence gathering authorities that will soon require action from Congress. It’s disturbing and reckless for the Minority Leader to block the briefing. We’ve seen too many recent reminders of how unsafe the world is today. This is no time to play politics with our national security,” he said.
If they could use the nuclear option to get rid of a much more prominent rule concerning filibusters of Supreme Court nominees, why not use it to get rid of this stupid rule. If it's a "rarely-used tactic," no one except the angry members of the minority party will miss it.


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I had so much fun last night. I'm visiting my daughters in D.C. and we went to the Nats-Cubs game. I haven't seen a live baseball game in about 50 years since I was a kid and we'd go to the Cubs games. So I scheduled my trip to catch the game. After falling behind in the seventh inning, I thought it was pretty hopeless for the Cubs based on the way they've been playing this year. But they rallied in the ninth inning to go ahead on a triple by Jon Jay. It was so exciting and I could celebrate with all the other Cubs fans in the stadium including a cute little girl, about 10 years old, sitting with her family of Cubs fans in front of me who told her parents that John Jay had written five of the Federalist Papers. Exactly right and the Cubs' Jon Jay was a hero tonight. Go Federalists!


What a blast! And then as walked out of the stadium and came back on the Metro and hear all the Nationals fans complaining about the Nationals' bullpen. Eh, they're still doing well. I'm just hoping that the Cubs are recovering their mojo. At least their closer, Wade Davis, another historically relevant name on the Cubs roster


          Continent risks fading from digital knowledge economy   
The rapid growth of internet use on the African continent has sparked hopes for the democratisation of knowledge production, but recent research suggests that connectivity is not enough to boost A ...
          Episode 5.0: "Projection And Dreaming"   
Tom Gillespie of MLB International discusses the growth of baseball in Europe; Jesse Spector of the NY Daily News on the World Cup and a discussion of players with 70+ tools
          Normalization Ideas Weigh on Greenback   

A virus has spread across the markets as the first half drew to a close.  Many investors have become giddy.   The low vol environment was punctuated by ideas that peak in monetary accommodation is past and that the gradual process of normalization is beginning.   Some investors may be exaggerating how soon the Bank of England and the European Central Bank will raise interest rates, but there seems to be little doubt about the direction of policy going forward.  

It is not just the ECB and BOE.  The Bank of Canada meets on July 12, and the market is pricing in around a 75% chance of a hike.  The Reserve Bank of Australia and Sweden's Riksbank meets in the week ahead, and they too will likely embrace the prospects of normalization.    Ironically, it is only the US, which has seen core CPI and core PCE move lower for four consecutive months that the market doubts.   Using either the Fed funds futures or the OIS market, it appears that less than a 50% chance of hike before the end of the year is discounted

The BOJ is the other exception.  It has refrained from discussing an exit strategy.  Its core inflation rose 0.4% in May.  The target is 2%.  The core rate includes energy.  If energy is excluded as well, prices in Japan are flat year-over-year, while overall household spending contracted for 15-months year-over-year throughMay.   With the collective wisdom of the markets judging the Fed and BOJ will lag behind the other central banks in the period ahead, the dollar and yen were the poorest performing major currencies last week and for the month of June.  

The Dollar Index slumped 1.6% in the last week of June. This offsets the minor gains it had recorded earlier in the month.  The 1..3% decline for the month is the fourth consecutive losing month since the December 2010-April 2011 period.  The 4.7% loss in Q2 is the largest since Q3 10.  Although it is below its lower Bollinger Band (95.73), the other technical indicators are not over-extended, nor showing divergences.  The next target is near 94.30.  Below there, chart support ahead of last year's low a little below 92.00 is sparse.  

The euro broke out of the $1.11-$1.13 range, which we suggested, points to a test on $1.15 and then last year's high near $1.1615.  The 2015 high was recordednear $1.1715.   We note that the $1.1735 area also corresponds to a 38.2% retracement of the euro's decline from May 2014 (~$1.40) to the low at the start of the year  (~$1.0340).

The dollar stalled against the yen after approaching JPY113.00.  A small shelf has been built around JPY111.80, which is also where the 200-day moving average is found.    Technical indicators warn that the dollar's upside may become more difficult.   The 100-day moving average (~JPY111.20) is an obvious target, below which lies a band of support in the JPY110.40-JPY110.80.  

The prospects of the BOE removing accommodation, which it began with the raising the capital buffer, sent sterling for seven consecutive sessions through June 20 before profit-taking was seen after sterlingapproached the high for the year above $1.30.    Technical indicators are still supportive.  The $1.3055 area represents the 38.2% retracement of sterling fall from the referendum high of $1.50.  If this area is convincingly taken out, there is not much on the charts before $1.3400.  

Of the various central banks that investors are thinking are preparing to normalize policy, the Bank of Canada strikes us as the most credible.  The Bank of Canada has prepared the markets.  The recovery of the Senior Loan Officer survey after a couple of quarters of weakness seems to be the last key piece to fall into place.  On July 7, Canada reports its June jobs data.  Given the recent strength of the labor market, including rising wages, it will take a significant downside shock to deter the rate hike.  

The technical indicators are getting stretched, but there is no divergence at hand.  As the US dollar has fallen to new nine-month lows, it has built a head of steam.  It fell every session in the last week of June for more than a 2% decline and a nearly 4% decline for the month.  The next major support area is seen in the CAD1.2760 area.   A move above CAD1.3050 would be the first sign of consolidative/corrective phase.  

The Australian dollar culminated its recent rally by poking through $0.7700 briefly before the weekend.  It reached its best level in three months.    The Reserve Bank of Australia meets in early July, and although it is unlikely to change rates,  it is likely to dampen lingering ideas that a rate cut may still be delivered.  The central bank may not like the currency appreciation, but on a trade-weighted basis, it is several percentage points lower than it was the last time it was around $0.7700.    Also with iron ore prices rallying 20% over the past couple of weeks, the terms of trade have improved.  Initial support is seen in the $0.7620-$0.7640 area.  

The taper tantrum sparked in Europe managed to do for US yields what economic data and the Federal Reserve were unable to do--steepen the yield curve.  The two-year yield rose three basis points in the last week of June, while the 10-year yield rose 17 bp.  The backing up of the long-end was the most in a week since the first week in March.  The yield has entered the  2.30%-2.35% band that may take some time to work through the supply.  The September note futures peaked on June 14 and spent the second half of the month moving lower, effectively unwinding what it had gained in the first couple of weeks of June.  The 125-08-125-15 area houses retracement objectives and other chart points.   Bearish divergences in the technical indicators and the extreme market positioning provides scope for additional declines in prices (higher yields).  

Oil prices rose every day last week, extending its advance to seven consecutive sessions,  the longest such streak since last September-October.   The rally has approached the 38.2% retracement of the sharp decline (~$46 basis the August futures contract).  The technical tone looks constructive and there is near-term potential into the $47-$48 band.  Support now is seen near $44.50.

Although the S&P 500 had a difficult week, having to cope with the rise in yields and the failure of the Senate to pass healthcare reform, which raises questions about the broader economic agenda, it managed to close higher on the month.  It is the seventh monthly gain over the past eight months.    It is the seventh consecutive quarterly advance.  In fact, since the beginning of 2013, there have only been two quarterly declines in the S&P 500 (Q2-Q3 15).    Many investors still seem inclined to buy pullbacks.  A break of 2400, though, would be a test of this sentiment.  Over the past week, the Russell 1000 Growth Index (RLG) fell 1.5%, while the Russell 1000 Value Index (RLV) rose 0.35%.  On the month, RLG fell 0.4%, snapping a seven-month advance, while the RLV rose 1.5%, breaking a three-month down draft. 





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          P&P Blogger Profile: Derrick Story   
Derrick Story of The Digital Story
(Photo Credit: George Jardine)

Derrick Story runs the popular photography blog titled, “The Digital Story” and writes for O’Reilly as their Digital Media Evangelist. He’s also a contributing writer for Macworld Magazine and author of several books on digital photography. His photography business, Story Photography, is based in Santa Rosa, CA.

Why do you blog?
Blogging is the most efficient way for me to share information on a daily basis. On TDS for example, I can write and publish a helpful tip in about 20 minutes (that thousands of people can read almost immediately). That’s fairly efficient. I like the blogging platform because it lets me focus on the message and not get too bogged down in the tools.

If you only had time to read three blogs a day, which ones would they be?
Aside from the blogs I oversee (TDS, Inside Aperture, Inside Lightroom, etc.), I enjoy scanning Engadget, PhotographyBLOG, and I must admit, I like The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.

How long have you been using Photoshop/been a photographer?
I’ve been a photographer since my teenage years working for the local newspaper. I got hooked on Photoshop 2.5, and have been using the application ever since.

What type of camera(s) do you shoot with?
My assignment camera is a Canon 5D DSLR, and my favorite lenses are the 16-35 f/2.8 L II and the 70-200 f/4 L. But I like compact cameras too, especially ones that shoot good video also. My current pocket camera is the Canon PowerShot SD700. It takes great pictures, has image stabilization, and records clean video.

Mac or PC?
Intel Mac - MacBook Pro 17”

What is your favorite piece of photo or computer equipment (other than your camera)?
I think the iPhone is a great tool for photographers/bloggers on the go. I find that I’m doing a much better job of keeping up with email, monitoring my web sites, and communicating with clients and coworkers. Plus, it’s absolutely great for showing off photos, uploading images directly to Flickr, watching videos, and oh yeah, it’s a good music player too.

What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have?
I would absolutely love to have the new Canon 1Ds Mark III, but I don’t see one in my near future. Anyone out there have a spare body they can lend me?

What advice do you have for a novice creative professional/photographer?
Get a photo buddy and/or become part of a photography community. If you have someone to go shooting with, and who will look critically at your photos, you will shoot more and improve faster. As for community, the nickname for The Digital Story is “your virtual camera club.” It’s a place for photographers to come together, learn new techniques, show off their pictures, and get feedback on their work. Being part of a community helps us improve as artists and craftsmen.

What inspires you to create?
I like to have things to show for my efforts. When I was working my way through college, I couldn’t generate enough income as a photographer only, so I mowed lawns too. Believe it or not, I found that work very satisfying because I could stand back and admire my work after I finished working on a yard.

Today, I can support myself making pictures and writing, and I find it very satisfying to create new things out of thin air.

What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
Don’t take yourself too seriously. It inhibits growth and gets in the way of learning new things. Much better to have an open mind and be humble.

Where would you most like to live (other than where you live now)?
I live in a great place now (Sonoma County, CA), but I wouldn’t mind having an apartment in Vancouver BC too. I love the combination of Canadian-Pan Pacific culture with great outdoor activities.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a walker. It’s a great form of exercise and allows me to clear the cobwebs out of my head.

What talent would you most like to have?
Wish I could sing...

From Inside the Actors Studio:
What is your favorite word? Fabulous
What is your least favorite word? Arrogant
What turns you on? Curves
What turns you off? Moody
What sound or noise do you love? Love to hear the sound of coffee brewing (the smell is not too bad too)
What sound or noise do you hate? Smacking lips and loud eating sounds.
What is your favorite curse word? Asshole
What occupation other than your own would you like to attempt? Always wanted to be a tour guide in exotic locations.
What occupation would you not want to participate in? Politician
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Whew, you just made it under the wire!

*Note: If you there is someone you would like to see as a part of the P&P Blogger Profile series, please email Jason with their blog's URL. Also, be sure to check out the P&P Weekly every Monday for news about this site and a roundup of what other Photoshop & Photography Blogroll members are posting.


          Wilmington entrepreneur Rysheema Dixon is running for City Council   

Last year, we caught up with Wilmington entrepreneur Rysheema Dixonabout her budding consulting firm for nonprofits called RD Innovative Planning. It’s been a roller-coaster year for her in terms of learning and growth, and she’s capping it all off with the announcement that she’s running for an at-large seat on the Wilmington City Council. Read the rest of the story at...

The post Wilmington entrepreneur Rysheema Dixon is running for City Council appeared first on Rysheema Dixon.


          Yellow Slime Mold Timelapse   

Yellow slime mold growing on a log. It's 5 hours worth of growth.

North Cascades, Washington

Copyright Ian Smith 2007

Cast: sesotek

Tags: mold, fungus, pulsate, timelapse, slime mold, time-lapse and yellow


          How to Build a Robo Advisor: Advice for Starting a Robo Advisory   

MyPrivateBanking Robo AdvisorWith the tremendous growth in robo advisor assets under management (AUM), financial institutions are scrambling to figure out how to build and become a robo advisor.

Starting a robo advisor service combines financially savvy with big data analytics, as well as a comprehensive understanding to how robo advisors work.

How Do Robo Advisors Work?

Robo advisors are platforms that leverage algorithms to handle users' investment platforms. These services analyze each customer's current financial status, risk aversion, and goals. From here, they recommend the best portfolio of stocks available based on that data.

And these automated financial services are poised to transform the tremendous worldwide wealth management industry. 

MyPrivateBanking's report, Robo Advisor 3.0, takes an in-depth look at the basic challenge of every robo advisor: how to craft a presence that succeeds in convincing website visitors to sign up as investors and then remain on board.

In this data-driven assessment, the report looks at the characteristics, business models, and strengths and weaknesses of the top robo advisors around the world. The research was conducted on a total of 76 active robo advisors worldwide - 29 in the U.S. and Canada, 38 in seven European countries and nine in the Asia-Pacific region. We've compiled a full list of robo advisors analyzed below.

The exhaustive report provides comprehensive answers and data on how to optimize the individual onboarding stages (How it works, Client Assessment, Client Onboarding, Communication and Portfolio Reporting) and details five best practices for each stage. Furthermore, the report provides strategies to appeal to different segments such as Millennials, baby boomer investors approaching retirement, and high net worth individuals (HNWIs), and analyzes the impact of new technologies.

The report provides comprehensive analysis and data-driven insights on how to utilize robo advisors to win and keep clients:

  • What a robo advisor platform should offer to successfully convert prospects into happy clients.
  • Which robo advisor features work and why.
  • What are best practices for the different stages in the digital customer journey.
  • How long clients need to onboard on the surveyed robo advisors and which specialized offers are given.
  • What the client assessment process should include 
  • How client communication should be (inbound for customer service and outbound for news, education and commentary).
  • What good portfolio reporting looks like, so that it meets the information needs of the customer.
  • How B2B providers are positioned in the development of robo advisory services and what they offer.
  • How robo advisors should adopt their strategies to appeal to different segments such as Millennials, baby boomer investors approaching retirement, and high net worth individuals (HNWIs).
  • Which robo advisors provide specialized options such as micro-investing, rewards schemes or hedging strategies, and in what manner.
  • What the impacts of new technologies are, such as the use of artificial intelligence for client interaction and narrative generation on the robo advisor model.
  • How the future of digital success will look for robo advisors.
  • Appendix containing data on the web presences of more than 70 robo advisors alongside the digital customer journey process.
  • And much more.

>> Click here for Report Summary, Table of Contents, Methodology <<

Analyzed robo advisors in this report include:

North America: Acorns, Asset Builder, Betterment, Blooom, Bicycle Financial, BMO SmartFolio, Capital One Investing, Financial Guard, Flexscore, Future Advisor, Guide Financial, Hedgeable, iQuantifi, Jemstep, Learnvest, Liftoff, Nest Wealth, Personal Capital, Rebalance IRA, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, SheCapital, SigFig, TradeKing Advisors, Universis, Wealthbar, Wealthfront, Wealthsimple, Wela, Wisebanyan 

Europe: AdviseOnly, Advize, comdirect, Easyfolio, EasyVest, ETFmatic, Fairr.de, FeelCapital, Fiver a Day, Fundshop.fr, GinMon, Investomat, KeyPlan, KeyPrivate, Liqid, Marie Quantier, Money on Toast, MoneyFarm, Nutmeg, Parmenion, Quirion, rplan, Scalable Capital, Simply EQ, Sutor Bank, Swanest, SwissQuote ePrivateBanking, True Potential Investor, True Wealth, Vaamo, VZ Finanz Portal, Wealth Horizon, Wealthify, WeSave, Whitebox, Yellow Advice, Yomoni, Zen Assets.

Asia-Pacific: 8 Now!, Ignition Direct & Ignition Wealth, InvestSMART, Mizuho Bank Smart Folio, Movo, Owners Advisory, QuietGrowth, ScripBox, StockSpot

Here's how you get this exclusive Robo Advisor research:MyPrivateBanking Report Spread

To provide you with this exclusive report, MyPrivateBanking has partnered with BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, to create The Complete Robo Advisor Research Collection.

If you’re involved in the financial services industry at any level, you simply must understand the paradigm shift caused by robo advisors.

Investors frustrated by mediocre investment performance, high wealth manager fees and deceptive sales techniques are signing up for automated investment accounts at a record pace.

And the robo advisor field is evolving right before our eyes. Firms are figuring out on the fly how to best attract, service and upsell their customers. What lessons are they learning? Who’s doing it best? What threats are traditional wealth managers facing? Where are the opportunities for exponential growth for firms with robo advisor products or models?

The Complete Robo Advisor Research Collection is the ONLY resource that answers all of these questions and more. Click here to learn more about everything that's included in this exclusive research bundle

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Warren Buffett lives in a modest house that's worth .001% of his total wealth — here's what it looks like


          Bitcoin's 'bubble' is unlike anything we've ever seen   

There are still some question marks about whether bitcoin is in a bubble. But the speed of its price growth is already nearly unmatched.

The cryptocurrency has surged 162% in very volatile trading this year amid continued demand. But as the chart below illustrates, bitcoin's longer-term rally by as much as 1,000% was swifter than homebuilder stocks in the lead up to the housing crash. 

Jeffrey Kleintop, the chief global investment strategist at Charles Schwab, said that "the 10-year buildup is important to how embedded the bubble becomes and how much impact the bursting has on the economy and markets."

In other words, this is simply unprecedented. But arguably, a bitcoin crash probably won't have the same ripple effect on the economy as some other assets would. 

Billionaire Marc Cuban is among those who have said bitcoin prices are in a bubble. "When everyone is bragging about how easy they are making $=bubble," he tweeted

Ethereum, another cryptocurrency, is up by more than 3,000% this year

 

SEE ALSO: Millennials are flocking towards some of the most speculative ways to invest

DON'T MISS: PRESENTING: The most important charts in the world from the brightest minds on Wall Street

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An economist explains what could happen if Trump pulls the US out of NAFTA


          Credit cards are going the way of fax machines   

fax machine

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

The modern smartphone is a remarkable device. A single device that fits in your pocket can do all the tasks that once required cameras, camcorders, GPS devices, watches, alarm clocks, calculators, and even TVs.    

But the next change might be the most radical of all—it could eliminate the need to carry cash and credit cards. 

The growing importance of the smartphone as the go-to computing device for every digital activity is having a profound effect everywhere you look, but it’s only the biggest story among many exciting developments in the world of payments:   

  • Apple Pay was first out of the gate, but now mobile wallets are everywhere you look—Android Pay, Google Pay, Chase Pay and even Walmart Pay are making smartphones a real alternative to carrying credit cards. And the potential for mobile wallets to limit a merchant’s fraud liability could help them really take off in acceptance for small businesses.   
  • As consumers move more purchasing online, gateway vendors that can act as a front-end processor for online businesses are seeing explosive growth.   PayPal-owned Braintree grew 111% YoY in the number of cards on file in Q4 2015, while Stripe and Klarna now have multi-billion dollar valuations.
  • Mobile Point-Of-Sale (mPOS) startups like Square and ShopKeep have pioneered a whole new payments niche—accepting payments via tablets and smartphones.   Coupling their transactions capabilities with new apps can revolutionize a small business’ inventory management, marketing, loyalty and even payroll.   
  • Mobile Peer-to-Peer payments in the U.S. are forecast to grow from $5.6 billion in 2014 to nearly $175 billion by 2019 as consumers increasingly skip the hassle of writing a check or going to an ATM.   But smartphone vendors like Apple could cripple the dominant player of 2016 (Venmo) if they make a serious push to own the space.   

If your job or your company is involved in payment processing in any way, you know how complex this industry is. And you know that you simply can’t understand where the next big digital opportunities are unless you know the key players and roles in each step of the payments “supply chain:”   

  • Acquirers
  • Processors
  • Issuers
  • Card Networks
  • Independent sales organizations and merchant service providers
  • Gateways
  • Hardware and software providers

Fortunately, managing analyst John Heggestuen and research analyst Evan Bakker of BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, have compiled a detailed report that breaks down everything you need to know—whether you’re a payments industry veteran or a newcomer who is still getting a basic knowledge of this complex world.

368896817

Among the big picture insights you’ll get from this new report, titled The Payments Ecosystem Report: Everything You Need to Know About The Next Era of Payment Processing:

  • The 5 key events of 2015 that have set up 2016 as a watershed year for the entire payments ecosystem. 
  • The basics of traditional card processing from the start of the process through to the very end.    
  • Why new players and innovations like prepaid cards, store cards, and PIN debit transactions are gaining market share and creating new opportunities.   
  • The effects—good and bad—of the transition to new mobile payment methods.   New players and old have surprising threats and opportunities in areas as varied as carrier billing, remittances, wearables, and more.   

This exclusive report takes you inside these big issues to explore:

  • The critical steps in credit card transactions and how they are changing.
  • The six major types of organizations involved in the payments ecosystem.
  • The significant differences for industry players who operate closed-loop networks and offer prepaid cards.
  • The challenges and opportunities facing hardware and software providers for the payments sector.   
  • The 8 reasons why mobile wallets are growing so fast and how they will disrupt all aspects of the mobile ecosystem.    
  • The exciting possibilities ahead in fast-growing payments subsectors like remittances, connected devices and mobile P2P payments.   
  • And much more.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the payments ecosystem.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Harvard Business School professor explains the most important problem we have in finance today and how to fix it


          It might be time for Tesla to get out of the car business (TSLA)   

elon musk

Here's a completely heretical idea, especially on the eve of Tesla launching its long-awaited $35,000 Model 3 in July and the stock rallying almost 80% over the first half of 2017:

Tesla should think about getting out of the car business.

Crazy, right? This is the first new American automaker in decades — and investors are so bullish on it that even though it has made money in exactly two quarters since its 2010 IPO and sold less than 80,000 vehicles in 2016, its market cap is bigger than General Motors', Ford's, or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Additionally, Tesla is really nothing but a carmaker at this point. Although it sells solar panels and energy storage systems and is building a massive battery factory in Nevada, its revenues largely come from an old-fashioned place: assembling and marketing cars.

But here's the thing: for a carmaker such as BMW or Porsche or even Ferrari, limited production, a longstanding perception about the brand, and generally high to very high to astronomically high transactions (I'm looking at you, Ferrari LaFerrari supercar and your $1-million-plus price tag), the car business can be pretty good. Not Apple good, but healthy double-digit margins are in order.

Tesla started out at this end of the market, selling expensive luxury vehicles to a well-heeled elite. If it stayed with this business, it could conceivably end up with a 20% profit margin. 

Tesla Model S

A victim of Musk's vision

But CEO Elon Musk wants to get gas-powered cars off the road, so that means Tesla has to attack the low-margin mass-market business. The Model 3 is the first shot. And there are 400,000 pre-orders, so it's a big first shot.

The mass market isn't really about what Tesla is good at, which is visionary spectacle and succeeding against overwhelming odds. The mass market is about grinding, unspectacular execution, day after day. This might be why Musk wants to see it taken over by robots. 

For the time being, Tesla has committed to playing in this space, and doing it with a product — an all-electric vehicle — that consumers have thus far shown little interest in. EVs now make up only about 1% of global sales. Tesla needs to move that needle and move it big time, and to be honest, the company isn't strong enough to do it on its own. Others will have to come into the game.

This is where matters get challenging. Autos are a tough business: capital intensive, with cyclical sales and a requirement that car companies spend a lot on R&D to avoid falling behind. The end product is extremely complicated and relatively costly — so much so that carmakers maintain financing arms to loan customers the money to buy products.

ford factory producer prices

A business for the nutty

Many, many auto executives would say that the reason nobody has started a successful new car company in half a century is that you had to be nuts to start a new car company. There are so many other ways to get rich.

It's not clear that Musk fully understood this when he originally invested in Tesla and later took over the CEO job. But he's learning now. 

Fortunately, he doesn't have to think of himself as the quixotic leader of a company that by its economic nature will destroy his fortune, perhaps more than once. Tesla could at some point shed its car business or outsource it and focus on more lucrative, higher-growth, less-capital-hungry enterprises. Solar could be huge in the future, and in any case it's been a rapid growth area for energy.

Batteries for residential, industrial, and utility applications could also be big future businesses. And I haven't even gotten to the software and self-driving innovations that make up Tesla Autopilot. They could be worth more on their own than Tesla's entire carmaking operations someday, especially if you assume that the data generated by self-driving vehicles is where the real opportunity (and riches) resides. 

Tesla gigafactory

Hard to change course?

But, you might ask, wouldn't it be hard to unload the car business?

Not really. For example, if Tesla builds a factory in China, it will almost certainly have to establish a JV with a Chinese company, meaning that effectively half the Chinese manufacturing business would be owned by someone else. A contract manufacturer such as industry leader Magna could assemble Tesla vehicles in North America or Europe. And given that Tesla is aiming to sell 500,000 vehicles annually by the end of next year, a competitor might decide it's worth it to buy up the car brand.

The bottom line is that we know where Tesla's car business is going, and it's nothing all that financially thrilling. It could be financially depressing. Almost all the company's other projects, even idealistic moon shots like the Boring Company (digging traffic-beating tunnels under Los Angeles) have the potential to growth more rapidly or establish entirely new markets. 

Perhaps that's where Musk's focus should be.

SEE ALSO: 'So, do you want to see the car?': The story of the day that Tesla stunned the world

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Tesla will reveal the finished Model 3 in July — here's everything you need to know about the car


          PRESENTING: The most important charts in the world from the brightest minds on Wall Street   

markets 4x3

Here they are: the most important charts in the world. 

Once again, we asked dozens of top strategists, economists, and writers for one chart that is top of mind right now. The slideshow includes their verbatim analysis of the trend they picked. 

All of these charts were submitted by June 16, so some of the data may have evolved since then.

With assistance from Rachael Levy, Elena Holodny, and Jonathan Garber.

 

David Rosenberg

"This is where the power and influence still reside, and nothing is going to stop the inevitability that nearly two million of this critical demographic group will be turning 70 annually for the next 15 years. And they are very likely to make it to 85 or even older with medical advancement.

This has crucial implications for the financial markets because it is when you turn 70 that you undertake the most profound asset mix shift since you were in your 30s and loaded up on equities — when you turn 70, preservation of capital and cash flows becomes much more important, and yet in a world where 'safe yield' has become extremely scarce, the investment challenges for the aging but not yet aged boomers are going to be daunting, to say the least."  



Rick Rieder

"This crisis has under-appreciated negative side effects for the US economy as a whole. Most significantly, student loans are making it harder for first-time home buyers to afford their own home, with more than 70% of would-be first-time buyers saying student loan debt is delaying their home purchase, according to the National Association of Realtors. As a result, the homeownership rate in the US has fallen each of the last six years despite a solid economic recovery, according to the US Census Bureau, with the biggest impact coming from the 25-34 year old cohort as seen in the chart above. 

The student loan burden is not just curtailing young adults’ home buying; it is weakening their consumption in general, posing a major headwind to US economic growth. In addition to the direct economic impact, the student loan crisis could also worsen the class divide. Home ownership levels at age 30 are much lower among those with college debt than those without, and when faced with today’s high college costs coupled with the prospect of taking on significant debt, more students from lower-income households may choose not to attend college, worsening their outlook for employment and wage income over the course of their career. The bottomline: This crisis is likely to be a major drag on the US economy for years to come if it remains unaddressed, and an elegant fiscal-policy solution is needed, the sooner the better."



Torsten Slok



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

          These are the 11 biggest hedge funds in the world   

ray-dalio

2016 was a tough year for hedge funds. 

The industry as a whole only delivered a 5.4% return for clients, well below the S&P 500's return of 11.9%, according to data from eVestment.

Poor performance and high fees drove money out of the money managers' funds, with about $70 billion pulled out of the funds last year, the biggest drop since 2009, according to data tracker HFR.

But not all firms saw their funds shrink, according to Institutional Investor's Alpha's recently released 2017 Hedge Fund 100 list. The annual list, which ranks the world's largest hedge funds by assets, shows that many of the top funds' assets have grown by double digits. 

Ray Dalio's Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based firm with $122 billion in hedge fund assets under management, took the top spot on the list. Its hedge fund AuM at the beginning of 2017 were up about 17% from the same time last year. 

The funds that witnessed the most impressive growth, according to the list, were so-called quant funds. Such funds rely on algorithms or computer programs to guide their investing. Renaissance Technologies, one of the best known and oldest quant firms, saw its assets balloon by 42%, year-over-year. It moved up to the fourth spot on the list, up from twelfth last year. 

Two Sigma, another quant fund, snagged a higher spot on the list. Its assets under management are up 28% from last year. 

Here are the top 11 funds by hedge fund assets, according to the full list. 

SEE ALSO: Millennials are about to benefit from 'one of the largest intergenerational wealth transfers in history'

11. Elliott Management - $31.3 billion



10. Winton Group - $32 billion



9. Och-Ziff Capital Management - $33.5 billion



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

          HENRY BLODGET: Seeing more skepticism around Trumponomics   

The IMF recently cut its US GDP growth forecasts to 1.8% longer term and to 2.1% for this year and next. This is far from what Trump promised during his campaign to more than double the US growth rate to 4%, a vow that has since been downgraded to 3% by his economic team. 

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          The Perplexing Psychology Of Saving For Health Care   
Spending your own money on health care might mean that you'll be more frugal with it. That's the theory behind health savings accounts, a decades-old GOP concept that's sparking renewed interest on Capitol Hill as Republican lawmakers look for ways to replace the Affordable Care Act. HSAs are like personal savings accounts — with a difference . As with a retirement account, money put into an HSA can be invested, and any growth in the fund accumulates tax-free. Withdrawals can be made at any time, and they are tax-free, too — but the money can be used only to pay for certain medical expenses, such as health insurance deductibles, or for copays for hospital care or a visit to the doctor. Currently, HSAs are only available to people who have high-deductible health plans , meaning they usually pay a few thousand dollars for medical care each year before their insurance kicks in to pay its share. While HSA participation is growing, only about 20 million people out of the 176 million who
          What Content Discovery Means for Search and How to Fuel Its Growth   
What Content Discovery Means for Search and How to Fuel its Growtn

The internet has changed the way we discover and consume information. Think about the year 2000 — you put a keyword in the search bar and websites with the highest keyword concentration were the ones that appeared on top. Things gradually changed with the Panda, Penguin, Pigeon and other updates. The focus was more on the quality of content.

The post What Content Discovery Means for Search and How to Fuel Its Growth appeared first on Cision.


          Research Analyst - Academic Impressions - Denver, CO   
Dynamic growth and professional development opportunities. Academic Impressions is a dynamic and growing organization that provides high quality learning...
From Academic Impressions - Fri, 16 Jun 2017 17:39:52 GMT - View all Denver, CO jobs
          The Value of Family Branding   
Throughout history, business families and the skills and capital they bring have been the engine room for entrepreneurial activity and growth of economies around the world. To mark National Family Business Day (19th of September each year), the University of Adelaide, together with Family Business Australia held a seminar, ‘The Value of Family Branding’. Facilitated by [...]
          The Laura Longley Show: Where authentic change takes flight Using romantic relationships to accelerate your spiritual growth - Part 2   
GuestI know it sounds crazy, but as I've started dating again, I'm finding that each experience has given me a huge leap in my spiritual growth - whether the experience was a "success" as a relationship or not. Tune in to find out what I've discovered so far, and how you can use dating not just to find a partner, but to take a huge leap forward in your spiritual growth in the process
          The Laura Longley Show: Where authentic change takes flight Using romantic relationships to accelerate your spiritual growth   
GuestI know it sounds crazy, but as I've started dating again, I'm finding that each experience has given me a huge leap in my spiritual growth - whether the experience was a "success" as a relationship or not. Tune in to find out what I've discovered so far, and how you can use dating not just to find a partner, but to take a huge leap forward in your spiritual growth in the process
          The Laura Longley Show: Where authentic change takes flight Healing Ourselves, Healing the World with Angela Levesque   
GuestHumans are powerful beyond belief, but we need to believe in our power. In a world that is constantly vying for our attention, how do we connect to the essence of ourselves to unleash our healing potential? How is our global health crisis related to our own spiritual growth? Join us for an in depth discussion on the global and individual roots of our health crisis and learn tools and techniques that not only heal the body, but heal the world. Join Laura and Angela Levesque, author of Healing ...
          The Laura Longley Show: You Are A Blessing To The World with Karen Drucker   
GuestVery few people can say that they have been a singing mermaid, a singing casket, and was literally "elevator music" when she was hired to sing and play piano in a moving elevator. Meet Karen Drucker. Karen will share with us some of the wisdom of her own growth experiences, and how each of us, individually, makes a difference in the world simply by showing up as ourselves.
          The Laura Longley Show: with guest Tamara Dorris on Using Humor to Accelerate Personal and Spiritual Growth   
GuestHave you wondered about what holds most people back? What are some ideas to work on that? Why is humor so helpful to our spiritual growth? What do you think karma is? Does the law of attraction work, and if so how? These are all topics that today's guest, Tamara Dorris, will be discussing with Laura. You'll learn steps you can take right now to accelerate your own personal and spiritual growth. Join us for this exciting - and humorous - discussion
          The Laura Longley Show: with Guest Kelly Walden, Author of "It's All in Your Dreams" Discover the DREAM Code and Awaken to the Truth of Who You Are. Callers will get FREE dream interpretation with Kelly   
GuestDo you dream a lot and wonder what your dreams mean? Or maybe you hear others talk about their dreams, but think that you don't dream at all? Get ready to find out how to use your dreams for your personal and spiritual growth as Laura talks this week with Kelly Sullivan Walden, author of "It's All In Your Dreams." Kelly will take your calls and interpret YOUR dream for you live on the air Everything you need to know to mine the gold from your nighttime dreams. Pull back the covers on your ni ...
          The Laura Longley Show: Create a Better You with Guest Toneal Jackson   
GuestLaura Longley will be talking with guest Toneal Jackson about creating a better you Learn how you can discover your purpose, achieve a more balanced life, how to attain personal/professional growth and learn how to increase levels of confidence and self-awareness in your day to day life.
          The Laura Longley Show: Blue Heron Wisdom Radio with Host Laura Longley - The Shift in Energy from 2012 to 2013 with guest Marcia Bench   
GuestThis week Laura Longley will be interviewing Marcia Bench. They will be talking about the shift in energy from 2012 to 2013. Laura and Marcia will also be talking about how to activate more of your spiritual gifts in your work as well as talking about the biggest blocks that people run into when they try to expand in their profession whether it be through a job promotion, job change, or business growth.
          Adaptation de l’aménagement forestier durable aux changements climatiques : rapport exhaustif sur les scénarios de la vulnérabilité.   
Changes in global climate expected during the 21st century will have profound impacts on forests in Canada and elsewhere. Sustainable forest management objectives will therefore require modification as part of the general need for adaptation to climate change. Work carried out for the Conseil canadien des ministres des forêts has focused on developing and implementing tools and methods for adapting forest management in an uncertain future. While the uncertainties are considerable, these cannot be considered an excuse for delaying action, particularly in a long-term endeavor such as forestry. The report reviews scenarios and scenario analysis as one important approach to accounting for uncertainty in forest management decision making. Scenarios include the projections of future global economic and demographic growth as drivers of climate change, of future climate, and of the potential impacts of changes in climate on natural and managed ecosystems. In turn, local impacts on Canada’s forests can have important consequences for dependent communities and regional economies, which can feed back to global scenarios. The report discusses the availability of scenario data, the processes involved in developing local scenarios by stakeholders, and the application of scenarios as part of a vulnerability assessment process for sustainable forest management systems. Case studies of scenarios used in regional and national assessments of climate change impacts on forests are reviewed. Sources of information on scenarios are provided in three appendixes.
          Development and structure of Prometheus: the Canadian Wildland Fire Growth Simulation Model.   
La prévision précise et à haute résolution du comportement des feux de forêt est un élément essentiel du processus décisionnel de gestion avant et pendant les incendies. Le modèle de simulation déterministe de la croissance des feux Prometheus a été élaboré pour aider les gestionnaires des incendies à comprendre les conséquences probables de leurs décisions. À l’aide de données spatiales sur la topographie (pente, aspect et élévation), les types de combustible et les conditions météorologiques, le modèle simule la croissance des feux au moyen du principe de Huygens de propagation des ondes aux prévisions de la vitesse de propagation, obtenues à l’aide de la Méthode canadienne de prévision du comportement des incendies de forêt (Méthode canadienne d’évaluation des dangers d’incendie de forêt). Cette approche permet d’obtenir des périmètres d’incendie détaillés selon les intervalles de temps électionnés par l’utilisateur. À chaque point actif le long du périmètre correspond un comportement du feu. Les données exportées relatives aux périmètres d’incendie sont compatibles avec les systèmes d’information géographique. De plus, on dispose de trois techniques d’interpolation pour produire des données de trame optionnelles sur le comportement des incendies. Le présent document explique la structure du modèle Prometheus et évalue son rendement. Le rapport comprend également un examen général des méthodes de modélisation de la croissance des incendies et précise la technique de propagation du vecteur utilisée dans le modèle Prometheus. On y analyse aussi des limites et les hypothèses touchant le modèle, de même que les avenues de recherche les plus appropriées.
          Early growth response in trees following peatland drainage   
À McLennan et Wolf Creek dans le centre de l’Alberta, l’épinette noire (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) et le mélèze laricin (Larix laricina (Du Roi) K. Koch) affichent une croissance supérieure dans deux tourbières drainées, 9-10 ans après le drainage, par comparaison à leur croissance mesurée dans des placettes témoins non drainées. Dans les placettes drainées, les accroissements de la hauteur, du diamètre et du volume ont été, respectivement, de 2,7 à 3,5, de 1,6 à 2,3 et de 4,4 à 9,7 fois plus élevés. Aucun effet net de l’espacement des fossés (30, 40, 50 ou 60 m) sur la croissance ne s’observe, et la corrélation entre la croissance et la distance des arbres du fossé le plus proche est faible. Ces résultats semblent indiquer que l’abaissement du niveau de la nappe phréatique a été suffisant pour créer des zones non saturées qui ont facilité une croissance comparable des arbres dans les bandes entre les fossés. D’après des analyses dendrométriques, l’amélioration de la croissance pourrait débuter 3 ou 4 ans après le drainage. Le succès de la régénération de l’épinette noire dans les placettes témoins à McLennan et la taille raisonnable du recrutement des deux essences dans les placettes témoins semblent indiquer que ces essences peuvent germer et survivre dans les terrains humides au début, mais que le niveau élevé de la nappe phréatique inhibe subséquemment leur croissance. Il faudra continuer de mesurer périodiquement les arbres des deux essences afin de déterminer les patrons de croissance à long terme et d’évaluer la faisabilité financière du drainage des tourbières comme option pratique d’aménagement forestier.
          Should SEO and PPC Marry Each Other, Date or Just Stay Single?   

SEO or Organic Search Marketing and PPC or Paid Search Marketing/Advertisement, both have same goal to get your site found through keyword search in varios search engines. So, is the goal so common that they should get married? Or should SEO and PPC date, or just stay single?

Should SEO and PPC Marry Each Other, Date or Just Stay Single?

What if SEO and PPC Get Married?

Let’s define marriage first:

Marriage is about mutual understanding and about the economy of utilizing the limited combined resources in an efficient way for better life, if not, better future.

Well, that’s not a perfect one, but in Economics, it should sound like that. If I translate that for corporate language than it would be this:

Mutual Understanding between SEO & PPC

If SEO and PPC are operating differently, then they are learning in different ways. This can mean doing the same homework over and over again. Not doing the homework separately is very healthy for the economy. That’s why we see the giant companies acquiring (or marrying) the small companies. So that, the homework is not done again in the same economy. Even though, the giants have the setup to do it all over again. But, that’s bad for the industry. You are increasing the competition without adding any value to the economy.

So, whoever the husband between SEO or PPC is, both of their understanding can help each other greatly. PPC can use the learning from SEO and vice versa to reduce marketing cost and increase ROI. Isn’t that what the companies and advertisers are looking for? With mutual understanding, they can mutually reduce their homework and add value to the economy.

Utilizing Combined Resources

Before marriage, you probably have been using a small blender for milk shake that served your single user need. But, after marriage you can afford a better blender, which costs less than 2 blenders alone. i.e. you can also cut the capital investment and cost if you have SEO and PPC together. Moreover, they also can interchange their duties to perform other important tasks for the growth of your business.

Utilizing Limited Resources

You definitely have a budget for your marketing, from which you can’t go beyond. So, you should economize on getting more sales with less money. Since you are in fixed budget for SEO, you can cutout the variable budget for PPC, when you have competitive advantage in organic results for a specific keyword. So, for PPC you can only explore the markets, where you don’t have competitive advantage on. That’s should make the great use of your limited budget. So, managing these in separate units would mean extra cost for you, since there wouldn’t be any synchronization between these two units.

Utilizing Resources in an Efficient Way

When you have total understanding of your Search Marketing, you can have the flexibility to implement your strategy and set the players in the field. Thereby, you can play a good and strategic game utilizing every resource efficiently. Moreover, you can also reduce waste or spillover, which is a major factor in reducing cost and maximizing profit.

Enjoying a Better Life

Companies can gain greater ROI from the marriage and the management can also get all the information for their strategy from one source. So, that’ll make life easier and comfortable. It is obvious that combined SEO and PPC saves money for you. In return, you get greater ROI.

For a Better Future

In harsh situations, when comfortable life can’t be ensured, marriages are made in the intention to have better future. Investments are also like marriages craving for better future. Getting the reward right away isn’t possible. Combined investment in SEO and PPC can mean quicker break even. Moreover, as resources are utilized efficiently, the chance of having better life is quicker than having them separated.

What are alternatives if they can’t marry each other?

Date Each Other?

Now, if it happens that SEO and PPC can’t marry, then they can go out on dates from time to time to share things together. Even if they are separate, they should share each other’s learning from time to time by synchronizing each other and go toward a mutual understanding.

That way, some cost for advertising and marketing can be reduced by removing ad spending away from PPC, when SEO has organically reached its goal for a specific keyword. However, it can be more time consuming if you are to synchronize learning within these units.

Be Neighbors?

If they don’t synchronize, then the best way to learn from each other is by staying in the same premises and experiencing social and corporate activities together. That also can expand their learning. This can also mean hiring same internet marketing agency with separate units running campaigns with separate PMs.

What happens if SEO and PPC are Single?

SEO and PPC in the isolated island may mean loss in terms of the many benefits I mentioned above. But, not always their marriage is necessary. Their marriage can encourage cost reduction. But sometimes for the sake of online branding and converting visitors into sales takes more than just strict control of organic search marketing and paid search advertisement.

In the sales funnel, from visitors to sales, the communication and information feeding should be made several times before the purchase. So, limiting your doorways for the visitors to your business can harm you, if you are planning to sale big.

In case of online sales funnel, remember that:

  • Not all search engine visitors are your customers,
  • All those that find you when searching may not be your customer,
  • All the people that return to your site, doesn’t mean that they will make an inquiry,
  • All the people that makes an inquiry about your product or services, doesn’t mean that they will purchase your product.

So, in all stages of the sales funnel, there should be multiple ways for the visitor to get information about your company or product. If you have done SEO and simultaneously running PPC for content network (AdWords for AdSense), the chances are, when the visitor is reading something related, s/he might come back to your site.

Otherwise, after going a long way, the visitor might buy from the last good outlet s/he could remember, even though you were in top of the search (SEO efficient) when s/he found you earlier.

This happens to us always, when we go to a special product mall. Everyone visits the front stalls, but you happen to buy from a stall inside the mall. There is almost no extra competitive advantage for being the front stall (SEO effecient), when you have product that visitors always move around to find a good bargain. Getting these temporarily lost customers back to your site for sale is called retargeting. So, for retargeting, you need to be more liberal on SEO and PPC.

Another fact is, the objectives of SEO and PPC is not same. Most of the time PPC concetrates on Conversion and SEO on Branding & Reputation Building. I said “most of the time”, not “always”. e.g. Most popular keywords may not convert well and will mean unnecessary PPC spending on visitors that are not in action mode to purchase. But, popular keywords are good for Branding and Branding is one of the major targets for SEO. This difference in objectives is a good reason to stay in separate units.

Confused about marriage of SEO & PPC?

Well, if you have a product that visitors doesn’t care much about going for a good burgain (usually for cheaper products), having SEO and minor PPC dating is sufficient. If you are a small company, then having SEO and PPC get married would be a right choice. If you want to sell big, then SEO and PPC should stay single.

© of SEOPPCSMM.COM - Source: Should SEO and PPC Marry Each Other, Date or Just Stay Single?


          IT Service Management (ITSM) Software Market Trends - Size, Share, Growth, Forecast, Segment And App   
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          North Dakota Economic Development Foundation Announces New Board Members   
Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler announced five new members of the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation board today, Perry Miller, a business leader from Wahpeton; Tommy Kenville, founder of Tglobal Inc.; Gene Veeder, McKenzie County Commissioner; Jared Melville, former Vice President for the North Dakota Student Association; and .
 
“This group of individuals brings a wealth of experience and understanding of the business community and will be a great addition to our board.” Schuler said. “I am confident our new members will provide private-sector guidance, helping us to create strategic plans to strengthen and broaden North Dakota’s economic development."
 
Miller, a native of Wahpeton, works with the purchase, renovation and management of apartments, hotels and other commercial properties. Miller has served as a township supervisor and Richland County commissioner and is a current member of the Wahpeton City Council. In addition, he is a board member for the Wahpeton Community Development Corporation, Richland-Wilkin United Way, Wahpeton Recreation Committee and ND Farmers Union Policy Committee.
 
Kenville of Grand Forks, is the founder and president of Tglobal Inc. He is also a consultant with Center for Innovation as Rainmaker and VP of Development. Kenville established T-Kort LLC and founded Unmanned Applications Institute International. He serves as Managing Member for University Hotel Development LLC and chairs the Valley Angels investment fund.
 
Veeder of Watford City, is a county commissioner and served as the Executive Director of McKenzie County Job Development Authority and Tourism Bureau. Veeder serves as President of the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway and is on the board of directors for McKenzie County Water Resource District and the Western Area Water Supply. He has been recognized as the Governor’s Choice Economic Developer of the Year and for Outstanding Achievement in County Government from the North Dakota Association of Counties.
 
Melville, a native of Fargo, is the former Vice President of Governmental Relations for the North Dakota Student Association. A third-year student studying Business Administration and Political Science at North Dakota State University, Melville now serves as the Chief Justice of the NDSU Student Government’s Student Court. Melville has received awards on the regional and national level for competing in collegiate forensics as the President of the NDSU Lincoln Speech & Debate Society.
 
Batcheller of Fargo, is the Chairman and CEO of Appareo Systems LLC. He has been involved in the startup of six successful companies and has served as director of technology growth at Deere & Co. Batcheller has served on the boards of Xata Corporation, MeritCare (now Sanford Health), and the Fargo-Cass County Economic Development Corporation. He is a past president of the NDSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, and is currently serving on the boards of the NDSU Research and Technology Park and Amity Technology LLC.
 
The North Dakota Economic Development Foundation is a private foundation established by the Legislature in 2001 to provide private-sector guidance and oversight of the state's economic development efforts. The Foundation board helps create strategic plans to strengthen and broaden North Dakota’s economic development.
 
The Foundation establishes and maintains a strategic plan for economic development managed by business leaders from all corners of the state. The board meets quarterly to monitor progress toward economic development goals, to discuss major business and economic issues, and to offer suggestions for improving North Dakota's business climate. Each member of the board serves a two-year term.
 
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
 
For more North Dakota news and information go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          Making It: Manufacturers Confident About Future of Industry   
By Grand Forks Herald
Manufacturing is on an upward trend both in North Dakota and Minnesota, and regional companies say they are confident the sector has a bright future.

There were 319,000 manufacturing jobs in Minnesota as of Thursday, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). A 2014 study from the department projected jobs would drop from 312,000 jobs in 2014 to 297,500 jobs in 2024, but for now, it appears Minnesota has been adding jobs in the sector.

"We actually have not seen a downturn since 2014," DEED spokesman Monte Hanson said, adding Minnesota's rate of adding jobs year over year is 0.9 percent versus the national average of 0.5 percent. "We are almost double the national rate."

North Dakota had 24,100 manufacturing jobs as of May, according to Job Service North Dakota. Though that was a slight drop from last year at that time—24,500 jobs—Job Service expects the industry to grow slightly through 2024—the annual rate should be 0.6 percent.

On top of that, manufacturers, at least in Minnesota, are confident about the future of the industry. A DEED study released in January stated 90 percent of the respondents expect production levels will increase or stay the same this year. That's compared with 86 percent for 2016.

"For the most part, the outlook is bright," Paul Eidenschink, chief operations officer for North Dakota manufacturer Steffes, said of the manufacturing industry. "I think there are lots of opportunities."

By the numbers

About one in nine workers in Minnesota are employed in manufacturing, according to DEED. The industry produced 16 percent of the state's gross domestic product in 2015, making it the second largest industry in the state, the economic department said.

On the west side of the Red River, manufacturing makes up about 5.8 percent of North Dakota's GDP, said Andy Peterson, president and CEO of the Greater North Dakota Chamber.

"It is something that North Dakota should put more emphasis into," he said, adding there is room to grow.

Manufacturing isn't as widespread as North Dakota's top industries—the energy sector, agriculture and tourism. Peterson said the state has the opportunity to change that.

Still, it's an industry that can complement the state's top sectors.

While there are manufacturing jobs across the state, the majority seem to be concentrated in the Red River Valley, with Cass County being the only one that beats out Grand Forks County for the number of jobs—Cass County had about four times the manufacturing jobs of Grand Forks County in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Job Service.

In Grand Forks County, which on average had 2,352 manufacturing jobs last year, companies like Steffes have expanded in recent years. The company is a staple in Dickinson, N.D., where it was founded about 45 years ago.

Steffes has manufactured snowmobile skis, hopper bottom storage bins and furniture frames in the past, but as the oil boom got underway it began building products for the energy sector. In the last five years, it decided to buy two facilities in Grand Forks, where it now produces a variety of products, including oilfield skids that separate gas from oil, pressure vessels, flare equipment and agricultural products through manufacturing contracts.

Eidenschink said Steffes tends to adjust what it manufactures depending on demand. For example, in 2014, it sold its oil tank facility in Dickinson to Worthington Industries, and in 2013, it produced its first modular treater skid.

"We think of ourselves as an innovation company," he said. "Our goal, of course, is to meet the needs of our customers, to solve problems for them to make them more successful."

Challenges

The manufacturing sector has faced challenges in the past, particularly during the recession. At the low point in 2010, Minnesota dropped down to 288,300 jobs in the sector, Hanson said.

Steffes lost employees as well when the oil boom started to dwindle, Eidenschink said, but he noted growth and innovation has helped the company return to its 2014 numbers. He said the company has about 320 employees and wants to hire 35 to 40 people this year.

One challenge that manufacturers could face in the coming years is worker availability, especially as baby boomers begin to retire.

It's a concern shared by manufacturers in Minnesota as well, according to a report from manufacturing magazine Enterprise Minnesota. A poll conducted by Meeting Street Research, which is cited in the magazine, suggests 68 percent of manufacturing respondents in Minnesota found it difficult to attract qualified candidates to fill vacancies.

"There is a shift in our educational system away from the industrial arts programs," Eidenschink said. "There is a great unmet need for technical skills in manufacturing. There are some predictions that there are going to be about 2 million jobs that go unfilled in the next few years because the baby boomers are retiring."

Still, industry and economic leaders still feel manufacturing is heading in the right direction, both nationally and locally.

"I don't think it gets the bulk of the attention that does go to agriculture and energy, but it is a wonderful place to do business in because often manufacturers are supporting those industries," Eidenschink said of manufacturing in North Dakota.

Making It: Manufacturers Confident About Future of Industry - Grand Forks Herald

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          Bakken oil is back, hungrier than ever    

WATFORD CITY — From Watford City and Williston and places all around the oilfield, companies came to Watford City’s first big job fair in the Rough Rider Center. The companies were hungry to hire, and hire they did, many times right on the spot. But most of the companies went home with fewer prospects than they had available jobs.“I don’t know what everyone else is doing, but I have my three hiring managers here and we are doing interviews and making conditional offers on the spot,” said Doug Kirkwood, with Select Energy Services. 

The conditions included passing a drug screening and background check. Ten conditional offers had been made at the midpoint of the first fair, leaving another 20 positions still open.

Read the article in the Williston Herald.

The job fair attracted about 225 people, which Kirkwood said was better than he expected given it’s the first. Hiring in the Bakken, he said, is a continuous operation.

“With the turnover and the growth and the future, you just have to go ahead and hire and hope your plan is correct,” he said.

Select Energy has been in the Bakken about five years now, buying out International Western Company, which itself was formed about eight years ago. The company provides fresh water to hydraulic fracturing sites.

Among the company’s specialities is pumping the water, which takes about 100 trucks off the roads, Kirkwood said.

“We map the ponds for them, so they can monitor the levels while pumping,” Kirkwood said. “It’s semisonic wavelengths that go in to monitor in real time, and the data can get sent to someone in Houston that hey, this is how much water there is for you to use.”

The company weathered the downturn by hiring conservatively and holding positions open.

“We had very few layoffs, because our CEO just managed the business properly,” Kirkwood said.

The company prefers to hire locals. 

“There’s money to be made here, and it’s nice to put it back to the people who are here,” he said. “Our guys are not rotational. They live here.”

The company would like experience, but they will also train the right person. Honesty, integrity and a willingness to learn and work hard are the key characteristics he’s looking for.  

“We will start someone with no experience,” he said. “Jerry Durden isn’t here, but when he started he had absolutely no experience and now he’s a manager, because he took the time to learn the business.”

Likewise, Panther Pressure Testers, a few booths down, was hiring all levels for both the field and the shop.

“My workload is such with oil coming back that I am turning down jobs,” James Meyer told a prospective employee. “During the slowdown, we never did a layoff. We had our testers work on their own trucks while they had the time, but now they don’t. So I need more shop hands.”

Panther Pressure Testers specializes in blowout prevention pressure testing on drilling and workover rigs, and has been in the Williston Basin since 1991. During the downturn, the company added pipeline pressure testing to its repertoire, and trained a subset of employees whose jobs were at risk, so that it didn’t have to do any layoffs.

“We boast a fleet of 54 vehicles and 31 employees across two states,” Meyer said. “We just built a 25,000 square foot facility from the ground up here in Watford City.”

Key Energy Services, meanwhile, had talked to more than 100 candidates, several of whom are being considered for their Williston operation.

“Yes, we came to Watford to hire for the Williston area,” said Samuel Gonzalez, Key Energy’s Director of Recruiting.

His applicants hailed from as far away as Bakersfield, California and Arizona. He himself is based in Texas.

“We have some potential hires, which is good, and it’s also good to hear people’s stories,” he said. “People are hearing that the work is coming back to 2014 levels, and there are several candidates ready to go back to work.”

His positions included workover rig crews, floor hands, derrick hands and rig operators, for those with some oilfield experience already. 

He had hired about 20 on the spot at Watford City, but said he wasn’t done yet. He planned to be back in Williston Thursday morning from 8 a.m. to noon for another hiring event.

“If we were to train anyone,” Gonzalez added, “It would be a local hand. You work hard to find someone, and if they’ve never spent a winter up here in North Dakota — well a winter in Arizona just doesn’t compare.”

Perhaps the busiest booth of all, however, was one that adamantly was not hiring on the spot. ONEOK was at a table surrounded by workers talking to hiring managers.

“We are a little more pragmatic in our approach,” said Jamie Kalanick, recruiter. “This is not a job that you will get for three months and then get laid off. We keep people for a long time.”

ONEOK has 31 positions in the Bakken, Kalanick said, and unlike some of the other companies, they are not looking for locals to train. They are looking for the best qualified individuals they can get, wherever they may be.

“We still have the flexibility to offer people packages to move to the area if they aren’t living in the area already,” Kalanick said. 

She felt Watford City’s inaugural job fair had been “pretty good” for their purposes with a steady stream of people. She estimated they had 50 solid prospects by the end of the fair.

“People seem very well prepared, so that is good,” she said. “We have seen a lot of people with trucking experience and various other mixed oilfield jobs, so that has been good.”



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          North Dakota Industrial Commission Supports New Renewable Energy Projects   
By Industrial Commission of North Dakota
The North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved $1,125,000 in research and development grants for three renewable energy projects. The projects involve research and development of renewable energy technologies and processes that have strong growth potential in North Dakota.
 
The Legislature established the renewable energy grant program in 2007 to provide funding for research, development, marketing and education to foster growth of renewable energy including wind, biofuels, biomass, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and hydrogen.
 
In a joint statement, the Industrial Commission stated, “These projects continue the state’s research efforts to identify all the available energy sources that will move North Dakota’s economy forward. In addition to the research being done in North Dakota these projects will involve companies engaged in the state’s manufacturing sector.” The North Dakota Industrial Commission, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum, as chairman, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, oversees the Renewable Energy Program.
 
Projects include:
 
Portable Solar Array Modules
Packet Digital – Fargo
Total project costs: $1,000,000
Amount awarded: $500,000
 
The purpose of this project is to develop and commercialize transportable solar power generation modules capable of delivering up to 1 kilowatt for remote military installations, emergency shelters and camps, and a variety of commercial uses.  The project aims to eliminate the fuel requirement and noise associated with standard electromechanical power generation, as well as reducing the life cycle cost. Manufacturing will occur at Chiptronics in Dunseith. With this project, Packet Digital expects to add two to four jobs in the first year, increasing to 6-10 in the next few years. Chiptronics also expects to add four to five jobs to support the manufacturing. 
 
A Novel Approach to Reduce the Energy Consumption of Residential Homes
Terra Labs - Horace
Total project costs: $1,461,664
Amount awarded: $500,000
 
The purpose of this project is to develop a community heating and cooling system that utilizes geothermal energy and heat pumps to provide affordable and efficient energy for a residential community to be built in Horace.  The system will be owned by the city of Horace.  Cost savings will be realized through joint trenching with the water main along with shared heating and engineering design in the well field.
 
Solar Soaring Power Manager Phase III
Submitted by: Packet Digital – Fargo
Total project costs: $1,250,000
Amount awarded: $125,000
 
The overall goal of this project is to create a solar soaring power management system for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to initially double fly times and ultimately provide unlimited endurance powered by solar energy. Packet Digital is partnering with other North Dakota entities, including c2renew and Chiptronics, to develop the molds and materials needed for the manufacturing of the UAS in North Dakota. Packet Digital previously received $375,000 for this project. The award was increased by $125,000 from $375,000 to $500,000.
 

For more information on these projects or the program, contact Karlene Fine (701-328-3722) or Andrea Holl Pfennig (701-328-5300) or visit www.nd.gov/ndic/renew-infopage.htm.  

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          Development Fund Awards Funding Requests Totaling $1,122,875 Million   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Development Fund, a loan program within the North Dakota Department of Commerce, awarded funding for five projects totaling $1,122,875 at its monthly board meeting held in April.
 
The North Dakota Development Fund was created in 1991 as an economic development tool. It provides flexible gap financing through debt and equity investments for new or expanding North Dakota primary sector businesses. Primary sector businesses create new wealth and are typically manufacturers, food processors and export service companies.
 
The following requests were funded:
 
Advanced Business Solutions, (Fargo) was awarded a $200,000 loan to finance working capital needs for an expansion project. The company provides web based subscription service for advisors to use and implement to address the issues of profitability and cash flow.
 
BioMagnetic Sciences, (Wahpeton) was awarded a $350,000 loan to finance working capital needs for an expansion project. BioMagnetic Sciences is a medical device company with products to treat osteoarthritis.
 
PHR Plus, (Fargo) was awarded a $250,000 loan to finance working capital needs for an expansion project.  PHR Plus is a digital health company that assists individuals to manage their health and medical information, and partners with organizations to power their population health programs.
 
Bright Futures Learning, (Fargo) was awarded $100,000 loan to be used to support planned growth. Bright Futures Learning is a new daycare center.
 
Skid-Lift, (Fargo) was awarded a $222,875 loan as a part of a total funding package with Bank Forward and Bank of North Dakota; to fund the purchase of equipment, office remodel, and repayment of royalties. The company produces a scissor lift used with a skid-steer.
 
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
 
For more North Dakota news and information go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          North Dakota Might be the Best State for Young Adults   
By Newsweek
For young adults looking for opportunity, there’s apparently no better place than North Dakota.  A wave of young people relocating to the state has put North Dakota at the top of a list of best states for young adults to live in 2017.

U.S. News released a list Tuesday of the top 10 states millennials are moving to, and echoing its number one ranking as the best state for economic growth, North Dakota was also named the best place for young adults. The state saw a 5.08 percent growth in the number of residents age 25 to 29 between 2012 and 2015, compared to the national average growth rate of 1.61 percent.

Along with Microsoft’s second largest campus in Fargo, the oil and natural gas industry has led to a surge of job opportunities. 

North Dakota has also become known for its affordable tuition rates—an appealing situation for younger adults looking to further their education. Housing and the general cost of living are also relatively cheap, especially compared to other young-people Meccas like New York or Seattle.

The latest U.S. News analysis is in line with a recent MoneyRates.com report that said millennials were flocking to North Dakota, at least in part because of ample job opportunities. North Dakota had an unemployment rate of just 2.9 percent as of February. (Currently, New Mexico has the highest unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

"Last check, we had 12,000 open positions across the state,'' Sandy McMerty, co-deputy commissioner for the North Dakota Department of Commerce, told U.S. News. "We're at a place where we really need that out-of-state population to come in."

From 2011 to 2015, more than 80,000 jobs were created in the state.

“[North Dakota is like] a growing and robust town that’s slowly turning into a fast city,” Mason Wenzel, North Dakota State University’s executive commissioner of finance, told KVRR News. “It’s the future.”

Second to North Dakota in attracting young people was Rhode Island, which saw 4.38 percent growth of young adults moving to the state between 2012 and 2015.

North Dakota Might be the Best State for Young Adults - Newsweek

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          North Dakota Demographics Conference to be Held March 27 in Bismarck   
By ND Commerce
The 2nd annual North Dakota’s Demographics Conference will be held on Monday, March 27, at the National Energy Center of Excellence on the Bismarck State College campus.
 
"North Dakota’s economy continues to grow and diversify, and with it so does the information needed to understand this growth,” conference leader and North Dakota Census Office Manager Kevin Iverson said. “We want to help attendees understand the important socio-economic and demographic trends in North Dakota to help them make decisions for the future.”
 
This event is a collaborative effort of the North Dakota Department of Commerce, North Dakota Compass at North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota Department of Economics & Finance and the North Dakota Department of Health.
 
Speakers and panelists include Dr. David Flynn, from the University of North Dakota addressing demographic data to make business & policy decisions; and Nancy Hodur, PhD, from the Center for Social Research Director at North Dakota State University addressing population projections and housing needs. State leaders are invited to the event, keynotes will cover topics like the state’s record economic growth and continued progress on diversifying the state’s economy.
 
Cost for the event is $99. For additional information or to register for the conference visit: NDCensus.gov.

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          Development Fund Awards Funding Requests Totaling $2.75 Million   
By ND Commerce
Bismarck, N.D. -- The North Dakota Development Fund, a loan program within the North Dakota Department of Commerce, awarded funding for five projects totaling $2,750,000 at its monthly board meeting held in February.
 
The North Dakota Development Fund was created in 1991 as an economic development tool. It provides flexible gap financing through debt and equity investments for new or expanding North Dakota primary sector businesses. Primary sector businesses create new wealth and are typically manufacturers, food processors and export service companies.
 
The following requests were funded:
 
ZuluFly, LLC, (Fargo) was awarded a $350,000 loan to finance working capital needs. The company is a developer of real-time locating system and radio-frequency identification software solutions.
 
CoSchedule, LLC, (Bismarck) was awarded a $1,000,000 loan to finance working capital needs, equipment purchases and improvements needed to be made by the company based upon its planned expansion. CoSchedule develops software used in social media markets.
 
Plains Mobile, Inc., (Linton) was awarded a $400,000 loan to finance working capital needs, equipment purchases and improvements needed to be made by the company based upon its planned expansion. The company develops an integrated cloud-based software aimed at simplifying business systems that interact with people, equipment and mobile devices.
 
BotLink, LLC, (Fargo) was awarded $500,000 loan to be used to support planned growth. BotLink develops software and hardware for fully integrated operations platforms that combines real-time date delivery, control and safety.
 
Valley City-Barnes County Development Corporation, (Valley City) was awarded a $500,000 loan to assist with workforce training for Eagle Creek Software Services.
 
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
 
For more North Dakota news and information go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          North Dakota's Oil Boom Fuels Economic Growth   
By USNews.com

This isn't your father's Fargo any more.

That a state so sparsely populated and geographically remote stands among the top-five nationally in a broad measure of economic, educational, health and other metrics speaks volumes about an economic boom that North Dakota has experienced during the past decade.

Indeed it is the state's economic growth – No. 1 in the Best States rankings – that helped propel it to No. 2 in the overall measure of state economies.

With among the lowest unemployment in the nation and highest labor force participation, North Dakota also ranks highly in the roads, energy infrastructure – and even internet service – that it provides for just over three-quarters of a million residents. Its highly ranked higher education, with among the nation's most affordable tuition, has helped the citizenry reach a high level of attainment of college degrees. All measures considered, the state ranks No. 4 overall.

While 90 percent of North Dakota's land still is devoted to farming – with one-fifth of the population employed in agriculture that produces most of the nation's canola and flaxseed and ranks No. 1 in dry navy and pinto beans – it's what lies beneath the surface of this Canadian border state's wide open land that explains much of the recent growth of a domain that as recently as 2010 counted fewer residents than it had during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

It's oil and natural gas – and the technology for extracting it – that have both boosted the state's economy and also added a new dimension of social controversy surrounding pipelines that the industry is attempting to push through the state. Yet the state also is counting gains in manufacturing and high-tech ventures that have helped diversify the economy as oil has occupied a growing share of it.

"Energy and ag have always been very strong in our state, and the oil boom has moved us forward, but we've also worked to diversify," says Sandy McMerty, co-deputy commissioner for the North Dakota Department of Commerce. 

Recently elected North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum attributes the state's business sense to a long line of governors who came from the business world – in his case, the software industry. And he points to developments that hold promise for the future: A plant manufacturing the blades for 225-foot tall wind turbines employing 1,000 people, unmanned aerial aircraft mapping agriculture lands to amass mammoth data for improvement of crops, Microsoft "tapping in" to the state's well-educated workforce as the state attracts more young people.

"Our infrastructure is in great shape,'' the governor says – indeed, it ranks No. 6 in the Best States analysis. "The economic surpluses that we've had at the state level have allowed us to invest in infrastructure."

The Bakken Formation of oil and natural gas, among the largest contiguous deposits in the U.S., once was deemed infeasible for production. That was before hydraulic fracturing – an injection of water and chemicals into the black shale, siltstone and sandstone holding the oil, a process known as "fracking."

Before the oil boom, as recently as 2004, oil and gas production accounted for just 2 percent of the state's economy. By 2014, it accounted for almost 16 percent. And, while declining world prices for oil in recent years have dampened some of the Bakken boom's luster – and placed pressure on the small state's annual budget, forcing cuts in its esteemed public universities – overall oil production has held up for the most part.

There are fewer drilling rigs at work, but overall production slid to 1.17 million barrels per day in November from a peak of 1.23 million in December 2014 as drillers have pared operational costs. Drillers are employing new techniques that enable them to drill two miles down and then two miles horizontally, the governor notes, with the precision of someone picking the lock on a house.

"We've been a little bit down in production based on pricing,'' says McMerty, who is fluent in the daily price per barrel. "But energy companies are not short-term investment companies for the most part. They can ride out the lower prices."

The state's overall economic output more than doubled in 11 years, according to a Bureau of Economic Analysis report. The state's gross domestic product in 2013 reached a record $49.8 billion, up from $24.7 billion in 2002. In 2002, the state had the second smallest economy, ahead of only Vermont's. Still, some question the long-term sustainability of an economy hinging on a volatile industry.

"North Dakota has always been a boom and bust state – there hasn't been a time of expansion that wasn't followed by contraction," says Bill Caraher, associate professor of history at the University of North Dakota. "By and large, in terms of the billions and billions of dollars that have flowed into North Dakota's economy, very little has gone into producing the kinds of things that are sustainable long-term economic engines.''

In the state's bid for economic diversification, Northrop Grumman, John Deere and Bobcat are among the manufacturers that have added facilities and jobs – Northrop hoping to employ 100 people in Grand Forks. Caterpillar Remanufacturing recently chose between South Korea and North Dakota for a facility, and chose Fargo. And Grand Forks, inundated by the devastating Red River Flood of 1997, has rebounded 20 years later bigger and better, Caraher notes.

The state also boasts of the second largest campus for the software giant Microsoft outside of Washington state – in Fargo.

More than 80,000 jobs were created in North Dakota from 2011 from 2015, the data behind the Best States rankings show. And this state whose population had long hovered at Depression levels saw its populace grow from 674,000 in 2010 to 758,000 in 2016. Among all 50 states small and large, North Dakota ranked No 1 in the Best States ranking of net migration of people into the state. "Last check, we had 12,000 open positions across the state,'' McMerty says. "We're at a place where we really need that out-of-state population to come in."

The state's unemployment rate ranked No. 3 among all states in the Best States analysis, and running at 3 percent in December it remained the sixth-lowest and well below the national average.

All of this contributed to North Dakota's high ranking in the opportunity it offers citizens – ranking No. 7 nationally, with among the nation's lowest poverty rates, higher median household incomes and most affordable housing.

The state's oil development also has created its own issues. These include the challenges of housing oilfield workers in what have become known as "man camps." And a planned Dakota Access pipeline has generated strong public protest, particularly among the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe objecting to its construction near its reservation.

The tribe celebrated late last year when the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would seek alternative routes for the $3.7 billion pipeline. Then a new president signed an order directing the Corps to "review and approve" the pipeline "in an expedited manner." Allies of the tribe, including Earthjustice, contend that review already has identified problems with the pipeline, and this may end up in court.

The quality of the state's health care – No. 10 in the rankings – is borne out in some of the measures of public health taken into account in Best States.

This includes low mortality and infant mortality rates, 12th and 14th best respectively. One of the offshoots of this is a figure that's not counted in these rankings but measured by the U.S. Census: The nation's highest ratio of people 100 years old and older – with three centenarians for every 10,000 residents, double the national average.

The governor tells the story of a 100-year-old North Dakotan driver who was stopped running a stop sign on the way to his older sisters' place. "The police officer asked, 'Didn't you see the sign?' The man said, 'Sure I saw the sign. I didn't see you.""

The state's governmental services ranked No. 7 in the Best States assessment.

This included well-balanced state accounts – ranking No. 1 in financial health, No. 3 in its operating ratio of income and expenses, No. 6 in the digitalization of state information and No. 11 in the long-term funding of its pension system.

As a measure of that fiscal responsibility, when the state recently lost a sizable share of projected revenue for a two-year budget cycle amid a slowdown in oil drilling, the governor ordered budget cuts and drew $497 million from reserves to close a $1-billion shortfall in a $14-billion budget. Yet with cuts, come pain.

Assessing the cuts at the University of North Dakota – a system ranking No. 6 nationwide – Caraher notes: "People who keep hoping that the boom-bust economies can be leveraged into sustainable growth, these are the kinds of things that give people pause… Universities are one of the major leaders of innovation."

Yet in a world in which everyone holds a miniature "super-computer'' in their hands in their smart phones, the governor suggests, access to learning transcends the traditional boundaries of school buildings, and this too is a question of technology which the state must explore as it seeks to improve education.

Click here to view the full report.

  

 



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          North Dakota Renewable Energy Program Accepting Applications   
BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Industrial Commission is currently accepting applications through March 1 for the North Dakota Renewable Energy Program.

The program funds projects that involve research and development of renewable energy technologies and processes that have strong growth potential in North Dakota. Any project proposing education, research, development or marketing of renewable energy resources, materials or products is eligible.

To be considered, projects must:
• Demonstrate a high probability of advancing to a commercially viable stage supported by a road map to commercialization.
• Have significant involvement from a North Dakota private entity.
• Not be duplicative of other research or demonstration projects or technology

The Legislature established the program in 2007 to provide funding for research, development, marketing and education to foster growth of renewable energy including wind, biofuels, biomass, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and hydrogen.

The North Dakota Renewable Energy Program is overseen by the North Dakota Industrial Commission, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

For more information on these projects or the program, contact Andrea Pfennig (701-426-5295) or Karlene Fine (701-328-3722) or visit: www.nd.gov/ndic/renew-infopage.htm.

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          North Dakota Ranks #5 in Best States for Business   
By ND Commerce
North Dakota was ranked the 5th best state for business according to a recent 24/7 Wall St. study. North Dakota ranked 11th in 2016 and 9th in 2015.
 
To determine the best and worst states for business, 24/7 Wall St. compiled 47 measures into eight categories: economic conditions, business costs, state infrastructure, the availability and skill level of the workforce, quality of life, regulations, technology and innovation, and cost of living.

“North Dakota continues to showcase that it offers a business-friendly environment by creating vibrant communities and enhancing the quality of life for our citizens,” Governor Doug Burgum said. “Being recognized by 24/7 Wall St. only goes to support that North Dakota is a great place for businesses and career seekers alike. The entrepreneurs and innovators creating jobs in value-added agriculture, energy, manufacturing and technology sectors continue to drive our state’s economy forward, and we’re doing our part to ensure that North Dakota can compete and thrive in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive global economy.”
 
The top four states were: Utah, Massachusetts, Idaho and Colorado.
 
The study states: “For the many Americans who relocated to North Dakota during the oil boom, the move was likely made easier by the state’s low cost of living. Goods and services cost 92 cents on the dollar in North Dakota compared to the nation as a whole, and the state’s median homeownership expenses amount to just 17.5% of household income — a smaller share than in any state other than West Virginia.”
 
North Dakota’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annual growth rate of 7.7 percent from 2010 to 2015 was more than that of any other state and four times the national growth rate. According to the latest GDP information from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, North Dakota had positive growth during the third quarter of 2016. This was the first growth in Real GDP since the fourth quarter of 2014. North Dakota was cited as having the 7th best economic growth in the quarter (South Dakota was first).

The full report is available at: http://247wallst.com/

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          North Dakota State Energy Program Accepting Applications   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota State Energy Program's (SEP) is currently accepting applications through March 1. SEP’s mission is to promote energy conservation and efficiency, and reduce the rate of growth of energy demand by developing and implementing a comprehensive state energy plan supported by Federal financial and technical assistance.  

The SEP provides a range of energy conservation and renewable energy related areas, including energy education, buildings, commercial/industrial, energy codes, and transportation. The SEP program receives formula funds from the Department of Energy. 

For more information on this program, contact Andrea Pfennig at 701-426-5295. 

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          North Dakota Renewable Energy Program Accepting Applications   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Industrial Commission is currently accepting applications through February 1 for the North Dakota Renewable Energy Program.
 
The program funds projects that involve research, development, marketing and education of renewable energy technologies and processes that have strong growth potential in North Dakota.
 
The Legislature established the program in 2007 to provide funding for research, development, marketing and education to foster growth of renewable energy including wind, biofuels, biomass, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and hydrogen.
 
The North Dakota Renewable Energy Program is overseen by the North Dakota Industrial Commission, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.  
 
For more information on these projects or the program, contact Andrea Pfennig (701-426-5295).
 

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          North Dakota Population Reaches an All-Time High of 757,952 Residents   
The latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates show North Dakota’s population reached an all-time high of 757,952 residents this year, an increase of 1,117. Last year, North Dakota’s estimated 2015 population was 756,835 residents. 

Since Census 2010, North Dakota is estimated to have grown by 85,361 residents, including just over 28,000 from natural growth rate and nearly 56,300 in net migration.   

“Even with the slowdown in population growth this past year, North Dakota remains the state with the highest percentage growth since the last census in 2010 at 12.7 percent followed by Texas at 10.8 percent and Utah at 10.4 percent,” Kevin Iverson, manager of North Dakota’s Census Office. 

North Dakota’s natural rate growth from 2015 to 2016 was estimated to be 5,652. That figure is derived from 11,824 births less 6,172 deaths in the state. Net migration during that timeframe was estimated to be loss of 4,684. This was the first year showing a net loss due to out-migration since 2007.
 
Out-migration appears to have been offset by a higher rate of births than average for states. North Dakota was estimated to have the highest rate of births of any state after Utah. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there were 15.6 births per 1,000 women of child-bearing age in the state. 

The North Dakota Census Office within the North Dakota Department of Commerce serves as the state's liaison to the US Census Bureau and is the state repository of census information. For more information, visit: https://www.commerce.nd.gov/census

Additional demographic information will be released by the Census Bureau later in 2016.

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          North Dakota Names in Nation for Fifth Consecutive Year   
North Dakota NAMED BEST RUN STATE in nation for Fifth consecutive year
 BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota was credited with being the best run state in the nation for a fifth consecutive year, according to a 24/7 Wall St. study released today. The study looks at data on financial health, standard of living and government services by the state to determine how well each state is managed.
            “North Dakota continues to showcase that offers a business-friendly environment by creating growth and enhancing the quality of life for our citizens,” Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. “Being recognized for the fifth consecutive year by 24/7 Wall St. only goes to support that North Dakota is a great place for businesses and career seekers alike.”
 The top five best run states were: North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah. The study determines how well states are run by looking at fiscal management, taxes, exports, and GDP growth by sectors, as well as, quality of life components such as poverty, income, unemployment, high school graduation, crime and foreclosure rates.
 The study states: “… rich oil resources continue to stimulate the state’s economy. The unemployment rate remains lower than in any other state, and the median home value in North Dakota surged by 40.7% over the past five years, the largest increase of any state.”
 
            The full report is available at: http://247wallst.com/.
 

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          North Dakota Named Best Run State in Nation for Fifth Consecutive Year   
 BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota was credited with being the best run state in the nation for a fifth consecutive year, according to a 24/7 Wall St. study released today. The study looks at data on financial health, standard of living and government services by the state to determine how well each state is managed.

            “North Dakota continues to showcase that offers a business-friendly environment by creating growth and enhancing the quality of life for our citizens,” Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. “Being recognized for the fifth consecutive year by 24/7 Wall St. only goes to support that North Dakota is a great place for businesses and career seekers alike.”

The top five best run states were: North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah. The study determines how well states are run by looking at fiscal management, taxes, exports, and GDP growth by sectors, as well as, quality of life components such as poverty, income, unemployment, high school graduation, crime and foreclosure rates.
 
The study states: “… rich oil resources continue to stimulate the state’s economy. The unemployment rate remains lower than in any other state, and the median home value in North Dakota surged by 40.7% over the past five years, the largest increase of any state.”
 
            The full report is available at: http://247wallst.com/.
 

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          North Dakota Ranks #1 in Fastcompany.com List of States with Best Economic Prospects for 2017   
By ND Commerce
North Dakota ranks 1st in today’s FastCompany.com list of states with the best economic prospects for 2017. The list provides power rankings for each state based on employment, housing, and other trends showing which states are poised for growth and which are falling behind. 

“We have worked hard and strategically to diversify the economy of North Dakota and this is further proof our work is paying off,” North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Alan Anderson said. “The boom in our technology, manufacturing and aviation industries are allowing us to continue to be one of the top rated places in the nation to do business. There has never been a better time to be in business in North Dakota.” 

The rankings are based on data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Kauffman startup Index and Zillow. 

According to the study, North Dakota was first in startup density, with an average increase of 5.56 percent in new business activity. It also came in first for household income, with an average increase of 4.1 percent, and first in GDP per capita, with an average increase of 4.54 percent. 

Rounding out the top 5 states on the list are Oklahoma, Texas Michigan and California.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
 
For more North Dakota news and information go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          Development Fund Awards Funding Requests Totaling $1,620,000   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Development Fund, a loan program within the North Dakota Department of Commerce, awarded funding for three projects totaling $1,625,000 at its monthly board meeting held in October. 

The North Dakota Development Fund was created in 1991 as an economic development tool. It provides flexible gap financing through debt and equity investments for new or expanding North Dakota primary sector businesses. Primary sector businesses create new wealth and are typically manufacturers, food processors and exported service companies. 

The following requests were funded: 
  • Harvest Fuel, Inc., (Walhalla) was awarded a $725,000 loan to expand operations at their Walhalla facility. Harvest Fuel sells a variety of feed supplement products for horses, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, and other livestock. The products are designed to improve the digestive health and promote growth, while providing increased feed efficiency of up to 25 percent. 
  • FarmQA, Inc., (Fargo) was awarded a $750,000 loan to help fund working capital for an upcoming expansion. FarmQA develops various efficiency software programs for large-scale growers in the agricultural industry and also distributes the associated hardware.  
  • Mama Mia, Inc., (Fargo) was awarded $150,000 loan to be used to provide working capital. The company is a designer outlet store in a boutique environment with the purpose of finding, repurposing, and selling inventory through the MODE franchise stores. 
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services. 

For more North Dakota news and information go to www.NDCommerce.com

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          North Dakota Ranks 8th on Forbes Best States for Business List   
By ND Commerce
North Dakota ranks 8th in the Forbes annual best states for business list which measures which states have the best business climates and are poised to succeed going forward.

“We have worked hard and strategically to diversify the economy of North Dakota,” North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Alan Anderson said. “Our technology, manufacturing and aviation industries are booming allowing us to continue to be one of the top rated places in the nation to do business.” 

The Forbes annual ranking measures six categories for businesses: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. They factor in 40 metrics from 17 sources to determine the ranks across the six main areas. The overall ranks are based on a combination of ranks in the six main categories. 

“Companies like Microsoft, Northrop Grumman and Bobcat have all recently announced expansions plans and groups like NASA are committed to long-term projects in North Dakota,” Anderson said. “Our economy is strong and there has never been a better time to be in business in North Dakota.” 

Utah ranked 1st in the Forbes report for the third year. The full report is available at http://www.forbes.com/best-states-for-business

The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
 
For more North Dakota news and information go to www.NDCommerce.com

 

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          ND Food Processing Facility Kicks off $30 Million Expansion   
By Powder & Bulk Solids
AGT Foods, a Saskatchewan-based supplier of pulse crop food products, held a dedication ceremony for a $30 million expansion of its Minot, ND food processing plant on Aug. 5, multiple news outlets reported.

The expansion will add 33,000 additional sq ft to the facility and about 20 jobs, according to an Associated Press report.

“We’re proud to be here. Agriculture is a big part of the North Dakota economy and pulse crops – peas and lentils and chick peas – the world is demanding high-protein, high-fiber, non-GMO, and gluten-free ingredients and that’s what we’re producing at this plant for major food companies around the globe,” the company’s president, Murad Al-Kaltib, said in a CBS KXNews article.

The Minot facility opened in 2011 and produces over $100 million worth of food products annually, the KXNews report said.

The Minot Daily News’ coverage said that the expansion will give the facility the ability to expand from three processing lines to six.

AGT Foods’ president Al-Kaltib told the paper that future growth in the food industry is likely.

“We need to produce, in the next 50 years, as much food as we have produced in the world in the last 10,000 years in order to meet the growing population of the world,” said Al-Kaltib.

ND Food Processing Facility Kicks off $30 Million Expansion - Powder Bulk Solids

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          Ag Business Celebrates Growth   
By KX News
A $1.7 billion, international corporation celebrated an expansion of its Minot facility today.

AGT Foods is a Saskatchewan-based company that employs 2,200 people in 120 countries around the world, supplying food products based on pulse crops such as peas and beans.

The company moved in to Minot in 2011 and began an expansion of the facility located near the Port of North Dakota on Minot's east side.

The second phase of that expansion was dedicated today - with a ribbon cutting and special ceremony.

The president of AGT Foods says the Minot plant employs over 100 people and puts out more than $100 million in food products per year.

(Murad Al-Kaltib, AGT Foods President) "We're proud to be here. Agriculture is a big part of the North Dakota economy and pulse crops - peas and lentils and chick peas - the world is demanding high-protein, high-fiber, non-GMO, and gluten-free ingredients and that's what we're producing at this plant for major food companies all around the globe."

Today's event included a display and sampling of some of AGT's products including some new snacks from Sun Chips.

(Murad Al-Kaltib, AGT Foods President) "So we're showcasing some products here like a new Sun Chips that was launched by Frito Lay that has yellow peas made in this plant as the number one ingredient on the back. So it's very exciting to have international food companies embracing ingredients that are made right here in Minot."

The expansion dedicated today cost $20 million, bringing AGT's investment in its Minot plant to more than $75 million.

Ag Business Celebrates Growth - KX News

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          Internship Opportunities Take Flight as North Dakota Drone Industry Expands   
By Grand Forks Herald
The offices of Grand Forks unmanned aircraft systems firms are getting more crowded as interns begin to settle in and start carving out their roles in the ever-evolving industry.

Internship opportunities in the field vary from positions requiring students to be behind the controls of aircraft to placing them at the keyboard of a computer, a reflection of the wide variety of jobs employers are looking to fill.

"We've worked through some programs at the state to make sure that we're doing everything we can to make these students into highly skilled employees and help the North Dakota economy by creating new jobs and wealth," said Matt Dunlevy, president and CEO of SkySkopes.

The 10 positions at SkySkopes, which conducts aerial inspections of infrastructure, and others being filled at area companies are a testament to the fast-paced growth of the industry, which allows relatively young firms to support several interns.

Confidence in the sector has been growing steadily in recent months, with another shot in the arm delivered when the Federal Aviation Administration revealed its finalized regulations for unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds used for commercial and governmental purposes.

When the rules go live in August, many in the unmanned industry predict an economic boon. Anticipation and investment in unmanned technology prior to the regulations' release also helped boost business locally, paving the way for internship positions as well.

The uptick in business means three summer interns for Field of View, a Grand Forks business specializing in creating sensors and software for mapping and modeling data collected by unmanned aircraft.

"We've really had to strategically manage our growth because if we would have hired this many people two or three years ago, I'm not sure we would have had the business to support them," CEO David Dvorak said.

Collaborative education

Both Field of View and SkySkopes are striving to provide their students with real-world experiences that will complement their education and be attractive to future employers.

And much like the unmanned industry in Grand Forks, these interns are collaborating with peers at other companies.

On Wednesday, the SkySkopes group met up with Field of View just south of Grand Forks for a test flight.

Interns with SkySkopes are recruited from UND's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program, and each student is provided with training on how to fly an aircraft and retrieve and store data, along with learning the ropes of running a business and filing paperwork with the FAA.

The background of Field of View's interns aren't rooted in the university's UAS program but are varied and include electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and geography majors.

"I definitely didn't think I would land anything like this," said Jacob Nordberg, a UND senior studying geography. "I thought I was kind of thinking I was going to go with urban planning or something like that, but I've taken some image processing courses at UND, and it definitely relates really well to what I'm doing here. I think it's been an invaluable experience."

At the company's Grand Forks office, Nordberg and fellow interns Jack Heichel and Alex Heyd work on a variety of projects ranging from testing cameras to crunching and mapping data to using the data to build 3-D models of objects. Working with them is Francisco Madera, who started as Field of View's first intern in February but has since moved into a full-time position.

During Wednesday's flight, the two company teams worked together to collect sample data the Field of View crew will use on the job. The field test provided an opportunity for SkySkopes' group to gain more experience in flight operations.

"We really want to put them through the internship program because we're trying to make the most highly educated and safest UAS pilots in North Dakota and ultimately in the nation," Dunlevy said.

SkySkopes' ultimate goal is to create 50 jobs in five years through the program, Dunlevy added.

Internship Opportunities Take Flight as North Dakota Drone Industry Expands - Grand Forks Herald

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          Study Finds North Dakota has Most Per Capita Startups in the Nation   
By Prairie Business
North Dakota’s economy supported more business startups last year on a per capita basis than any other state in the nation, according to the 2016 Kauffman Index for Growth Entrepreneurship. The Kauffman Index reports that in 2015 North Dakota was home to 245 new business startups for every 100,000 residents, the strongest startup activity in the nation.

The state’s business startups also grew at a rate of 86 percent as measured by changes in new business employment last year, the strongest growth in a comparison of the nation’s 25 smallest populated states, according to the Kauffman Index.

“Growing our state from within is one of the most effective strategies and we have a very positive business climate for startups,” says Alan Anderson, North Dakota Department of Commerce commissioner, in a statement. “Programs like Innovate ND and Research North Dakota have continued to foster our state’s entrepreneurial spirit and help people get businesses off to a good start.”

The 2016 Kauffman Index ranked North Dakota fourth overall in entrepreneurship growth among the nation’s 25 smaller states, moving up seven places from last year’s report. North Dakota’s rate of startup growth rose to 86.49 percent in the 2016 ranking, up from 56.51 percent in the 2015 ranking. Rate of startup growth measures changes in employment on average from the time of founding the business through the fifth year of business.

South Dakota ranked No. 25 on the same list, while Minnesota ranked No. 15 among the 25 larger states.

“This is a good recognition for the entrepreneurs in the state as well as our entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Justin Dever, co-deputy commissioner of the Department of Commerce, tells Prairie Business. “Rankings like this validate what we’re doing at the Department of Commerce.”

The Department of Commerce’s programs provide assistance to entrepreneurs through education, boot camps, coaching, mentoring and some financial support. Dever says organizations like Emerging Prairie in Fargo and Start Bismarck have also helped nurture the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The 2016 Kauffman Index top 10 smaller states are:

1- Utah

2- New Hampshire

3- Delaware

4- North Dakota

5- Oklahoma

6- Rhode Island

7- Kansas

8- Nevada

9- New Mexico

10- Mississippi

Study Finds North Dakota has Most Per Capita Startups in the Nation - Prairie Business

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          New Federal Regulations for Small Drones Receive Positive Feedback from North Dakota Industry Members   
By Grand Forks Herald
The Federal Aviation Administration debuted a set of long-awaited regulations governing the use of unmanned aircraft Tuesday that were met with fanfare from local and national members of the industry.

The rules are targeted at small unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, used for commercial and public applications and contain requirements for their operation and qualifications for their pilots.

David Dvorak, CEO of Field of View in Grand Forks, has been waiting years for the FAA to finalize regulations for unmanned aircraft.

"The level of restriction up until this point has been pretty horrendous so this seems like a walk in the park compared to what we have been working under," he said of the new requirements.

The rules, formally known as Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, will take effect in late August, and will apply to drones weighing less than 55 pounds.

These regulations pave the way for commercial operations utilizing unmanned aircraft, which currently are prohibited unless an exemption is obtained from the FAA. The agency had granted more than 5,000 exemptions prior to the unveiling of Part 107 — about 20 of which have gone to North Dakota-based companies.

Industry experts say the rules' release spells good news for the economy, with estimates predicting more than 100,000 jobs could be created and $82 billion generated over the next 10 years as a result.

Drone operations by public agencies such as sheriff and police departments also are included in the new regulations. Previously, these groups needed to acquire a certificate of authorization that spelled out conditions for flight.

"We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information and deploy disaster relief," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement Tuesday.

Requirements

The first draft of the rules for small unmanned aircraft was published last year, but regulations in general have been a long-awaited by those in the industry.

In 2012, the FAA received a congressional mandate to integrate UAS technology into national airspace by September 2015. The deadline came and went with no rules finalized, leaving the industry to await this week's release.

Dvorak and others predict the news will inspire more confidence in the technology and produce an uptick in economic activity as businesses prepare for the rule to become active.

"As a company that provides software and hardware for drone operators, I'd imagine this release will give a lot more people confidence to start investing in equipment, training and software in the next 60 days," Dvorak said.

Come August, drone pilots can fly at an altitude of 400 feet or less, cannot fly directly over people not involved in a flight operation and must maintain a safe distance from airports unless permission is received from the facilities in Class B,C, D and E airspace.

Part 107 prohibits flying unmanned aircraft in Class A airspace, which spans from 18,000 to 60,000 above sea level. Flights are allowed in Class G airspace, which is considered uncontrolled airspace, without permission from air traffic control.

Drone pilots must be certified and at least 16 years old unless supervised by someone holding a remote pilot certificate.

The certificate would be obtained by passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at a FAA-approved knowledge testing center or through other means if a person has an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate. Background checks on all remote pilot applications would be conducted by the Transportation Security Administration prior to issuance of a certificate.

Other requirements include always operating a drone within line of sight, flying during the day, not exceeding a groundspeed of 100 mph and avoiding reckless operations.

Missing pieces

Though Part 107 lays groundwork for the continued growth of unmanned industry, some found there still are important provisions missing from it.

"While the approved regulations are a step in the right direction for the drone industry, we still have a long way to go, specifically when it comes to long-distance or beyond-visual-line-of-sight drones," Tero Heinonen, CEO of Sharper Shape, said in a statement.

Heinonen, whose company operates out of Palo Alto, Calif., and Grand Forks, and others see beyond-line-of-sight as crucial to the continued development of drone technology.

Those wishing to conduct operations beyond line of sight or at night need to receive a waiver from the FAA, but it's likely that will be a temporary fix much like the commercial exemption process.

"With this new rule, we are taking a careful and deliberate approach that balances the need to deploy this new technology with the FAA's mission to protect public safety," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement. "We're already working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations."

Overall, reaction to the rule's release has been favorable with advocacy groups such as the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Academy for Model Aeronautics commending the FAA in allowing the industry to continue advancing.

Easier access to the industry does spell more competition for those already established within it.

"The challenge isn't over, it's really just beginning," Dvorak said. "Now everyone is kind of on an equal playing field. There have been companies that have come and gone over the years here, but now everyone has the opportunity to generate income from day one.

"It'll be interesting to see how the market handles that."

New Federal Regulations for Small Drones Receive Positive Feedback from North Dakota Industry Members - Grand Forks Herald

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          Lt. Gov: 'Future's Incredible Bright' for ComDel   
By Wahpeton Daily News
A 24,000-square-foot expansion to ComDel Innovation’s Wahpeton manufacturing plant at 2100 15th St. N. was dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, June 14. Coming after ComDel’s annual stockholders meeting, the event included not only leaders such as North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, but third-shift employees who stayed to observe it.

Jim Albrecht, company president, commented that since its 2007 founding, ComDel has been blessed with business opportunities. Because of this, their customer base and market share has grown.

“It’s pretty cool to see the commitment and dedication of this team, and the results that have come from that,” he said. “If you look at what that means to our customer base, it means that we continue to bring business back here and we continue to grow as a company.”

Wrigley, a fourth-generation North Dakotan, said the “future’s incredibly bright” for ComDel.

“You’ve done a great job of cultivating that customer base, so that your products have some place to go and a strong demand out there no matter what one particular sector’s doing,” he continued.

In his work with the North Dakota Trade Office, Wrigley is constantly asked about the state’s advancements in unmanned aircraft systems. Unmanned aircraft systems do not feature pilots and are being integrated incrementally into America’s airspace, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Private sector innovators are pairing in private-public partnerships with the government, and we’re doing things that are advancing this industry in important ways. It’s the fastest growing component of aviation. ... And it adds further diversification to our economy and more opportunity for the young people coming through and people looking for more diverse jobs. ... I think it taps into our pioneer spirit,” Wrigley said.

Wrigley urged those present to not believe what they’ve been told by television.

“Here we are today, with one of the strongest economies in all of America, one of the fastest-growing economies in America in many, many years,” Wrigley continued. Wages going up ... our population in North Dakota is higher than it’s ever been and in the last year, it’s growing more rapidly than anywhere in America because of opportunity in our state. A lot of opportunities present themselves and then there are things like this. This is an incredible endeavor and everything that you’re all doing makes it possible, makes it productive and makes it grow.”

After Wrigley, Wahpeton Mayor Meryl Hansey, Breckenridge Mayor Cliff Barth, Randy Pope, president of the Wahpeton Community Development Corporation and Dale Peppel, who managed the ComDel site when it was a 3M plant, all spoke.

“Growth is not given, it’s something that you have to earn,” Hansey said.

Prior to and following the ribbon-cutting, guests viewed displays of products produced by ComDel.

The expansion gives ComDel an additional 10 percent in footage, The Daily News reported in December 2015.

Lt. Gov: 'Future's Incredible Bright' for ComDel - Wahpeton Daily News

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          Development Fund Awards Funding Requests Totaling $1,367,500   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Development Fund, a loan program within the North Dakota Department of Commerce, awarded funding for three projects totaling $1,367,500 at its monthly board meeting held in May.
 
The North Dakota Development Fund was created in 1991 as an economic development tool. It provides flexible gap financing through debt and equity investments for new or expanding North Dakota primary sector businesses. Primary sector businesses create new wealth and are typically manufacturers, food processors and exported service companies. 

The following requests were funded: 
  • Harvest Fuel, Inc., (Walhalla) was awarded $467,500 loan to finance a building project. Harvest Fuel sells a variety of feed supplement products for horses, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, and other livestock. The products are designed to improve the digestive health and promote growth, while providing increased feed efficiency of up to 25 percent. 
  • GoodBulb, LLC., (Fargo) was awarded a $300,000 loan purchase light bulb inventory, fund working capital, and purchase an inventory management software program. The company is an e-commerce business that warehouses, repackages and sells various lightbulbs. The company is also developing its own brand of light bulb to be sold via the internet. 
  • BotLink, LLC., (Fargo) was awarded $600,000 loan to be used to support the company’s planned growth. The company developed the software and hardware for a fully integrated operations platform that combines real-time date delivery, control, and safety for UAV manufacturers and operators. 
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services. 

For more North Dakota news and information go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          Diverse Economy Keeping State Healthy, Anderson says: State Commerce Commissioner says ND Remains in Good Shape Despite Budget Shortfall   
By The Jamestown Sun
North Dakota’s economy is more diverse than what some think and that is why it is still strong despite a $2 billion hit to the state economy, according to Alan Anderson, commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

That kind of drop would really hurt the $18 billion North Dakota economy in 2000, and it still hurt in 2015, but the difference now is the state has a $55 billion economy, Anderson said in his keynote address Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.

“It is going to be pain for the state budget but overall North Dakota is extremely healthy from an economic standpoint,” Anderson said, adding that legislators and agencies will continue to face pressure to cut costs.

A diversified economy means the state must continue providing research dollars to universities and industry partners while also ensuring dollars for other growth and entrepreneurism, he said.

The Spiritwood Energy Park Association’s industrial park at Spiritwood is an example of best practices, Anderson said. It provides water, electricity, natural gas, rail and truck transportation and the essentials for industry at one spot. The new Jamestown Regional Medical Center facility, the Menards and economic parks are other signs of good innovation, he said.

“My hat is off to all of you,” Anderson said. “You’re doing a great job on that.”

Another key to the strong economy is the North Dakota workforce, which has gone from a labor exporter in 2000 to leading the nation in low unemployment and worker immigration for six years, he said. Despite three years of low ag prices and a 40 percent drop in oil, there are 15,000 job openings in North Dakota, he said.

“It’s not due to one particular industry like some would have you believe,” he said. “It’s been that all of our industries have done well over that time frame.”

To get people to come to North Dakota employment and opportunities are needed, he said. North Dakota has grown in population by over 100,000 people in the last 15 years and the average age is 35, the fourth-youngest population in the country. That happened by creating a business-friendly environment, supporting research and connecting universities with industry, entrepreneurship and finding export markets outside of the state and country, he said.

Anderson listed some of the major companies in North Dakota that are growing and currently list around 15,240 job openings. That is nearly twice the number of the 2.9 percent unemployment rate in North Dakota, he said.

For example, Appareo Systems started with two people and now has an average growth rate of 45 percent with close to 200 employees, he said. The North Dakota company Botink just received a $3 million investment to provide software support to the drone industry.

Northrop just made a $10 million investment in Grand Forks, he said. General Atomics has 25 high-income job openings

Agriculture has had three years of low commodity prices but North Dakota overall is still on a good trajectory, he said. The downside is labor as technology allows for higher productivity with fewer people involved in the process, but the upswing is value-added ag with corporations like Cavendish Farms helping to minimize the impact of low commodity prices, he said.

Anderson said the cost to break even in oil is around $45 a barrel when it used to be $70. This is due to efficiency and technology, he said. Bakken shale is doing better than other shale fields around the country, he said. Drilling will remain idle with $40 per barrel prices, he said, and at $50 per barrel it will stimulate more wells coming online and at $60 there will be new drilling.

“The outlook is good there and as that price continues to go up they will pick up quicker than they would have in the past,” he said.

Connie Ova, CEO of JSDC, Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen and Mark Klose, chairman of the Stutsman County Commission, presented H&H Holdings of Jamestown with the Growing Jamestown Award. Jim Grueneich, general manager, and Dean Hafner, owner, were present to accept.

H&H received a $43,000 Flex PACE Interest buy down to help purchase a building, according to the JSDC annual report. H&H continues to operate at its current rate and has created seven full- time jobs.

Diverse Economy Keeping State Healthy, Anderson says: State Commerce Commissioner says ND Remains in God Shape Despite Budget Shortfall - The Jamestown Sun 

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          UAS Entrepreneurs Set Their Sights on North Dakota   
By PR Newswire
A lone aircraft flies over a large swath of land checking for abnormalities in crops before landing safely at the feet of its pilot. A classroom of college-level students gain experience on how to operate an unmanned aerial system through simulation. An entrepreneur monitors his phone app to ensure that his unmanned aerial systems (UAS) tech is operating correctly out in the field. 

As the largest site available for flying UAS anywhere in the United States, these are every day occurrences in the state of North Dakota.

Since becoming the nation's first operational test site in 2014, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site has attracted investment from leading aerospace companies including General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Northrop Grumman, the U.S. Air Force and NASA.

This week North Dakota aerospace and aviation leaders are at AUVSI's XPONENTIAL 2016, the largest trade show for the unmanned systems and robotics industry in the world, to showcase the state's continual leadership and ability to attract big names in America's ever-expanding UAS industry. In addition, they are going to be on hand to discuss how entrepreneurs are finding success in the state.

"As thousands of entrepreneurs look for exciting opportunities in the rapidly expanding UAS industry, North Dakota wants them to know that we have the resources and capability to robustly support them in their endeavors," said Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, who also serves as chairman of the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority.

Because of North Dakota's reputation for UAS innovation and location as an FAA test site, the state is already seeing organic growth in startups focused on UAS.

Take Botlink, a cloud-based operations platform that links drones to industry in real time. The platform allows users to capture, process and automatically deliver aerial imagery anywhere, including into existing business software. Botlink also provides automated drone control and safety features such as airspace alerts, manned aircraft avoidance and weather advisories, allowing operators to remain safe and compliant with complex flight regulations.

"We're proud to be developing the next generation of drone technology in North Dakota," said Terri Zimmerman, Botlink CEO.

Many startup companies working in the UAS industry are supported by the University of North Dakota's (UND) Center for Innovation, which was the first university to offer a degree program in unmanned aviation in 2009 and has the largest university training program available for unmanned aircraft systems.

This includes SkyScopes, Smart C2 and Field of View. All of these companies have emerged out of the Center for Innovation within in the last five years and have been able to take advantage of the forward-thinking resources that come from an FAA-designated test site.

The state's 'Research ND' program offers $5 million biannually in grants for research and development to organizations and companies involved in UAS research through cooperation with UND and North Dakota State University (NDSU). North Dakotahas invested more than $34 million to establish a national UAS test site, to establish the Grand Sky UAS Business Park (the nation's first UAS business and aviation park) and to advance North Dakota's position as a hub for the nation's growing UAS industry.

"North Dakota continues to attract innovators in UAS technology, and we welcome the opportunity to foster entrepreneurship here and set the leading example for best practices in this sector," said Robert Becklund, executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.

For more information on North Dakota's UAS leadership visit NDUAS.com, and for details on the Northern Plains UAS Test Site visit www.npuasts.com.  

UAS Entrepreneurs Set Their Sights on North Dakota - PR Newswire 

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          Travel and Tourism Week Highlights State's Third-Largest Industry    
By ND Commerce Tourism Division
Nationally, the travel industry contributes $2.1 trillion to the U.S. economy, and one in every nine American jobs depends on the industry. The impact of this is significant right here in North Dakota with 24 million visitors spending $3.6 billion across the state.
 
In recognition of the travel industry’s significant contributions to our state, Gov. Jack Dalrymple has declared May 1-7 “North Dakota Travel and Tourism Week.”
 
North Dakota Travel and Tourism Week is held in conjunction with the U.S. Travel Association’s National Travel and Tourism Week, an annual salute to the tourism and travel industry that recognizes the industry’s benefits and importance to communities and Americans.
 
“Tourism is an integral contributor to our state’s economic growth, generating revenue for hundreds of tourism-based businesses,” Dalrymple said. “I am pleased to declare North Dakota Travel and Tourism Week to honor the outstanding contributions the industry continues to make statewide, and look forward to welcoming millions of new and returning visitors each year to North Dakota.”
 
North Dakota’s travel industry continues to be a strong and stable contributor in our state’s economy, North Dakota Tourism Division Director Sara Otte Coleman said. “Travel spending impacts all 53 counties because of the variety of experiences offered. From the Badlands and parks, to historic sites and urban amenities, there are enticing reasons to travel in and around every corner of North Dakota.”
 
The Impact of Travel and Tourism in North Dakota:
  • Tourism is North Dakota’s 3rd largest industry and important to our diversified economy
  • 24 million people visited North Dakota in 2013. (IHS)
  • North Dakota travel generated $307 million in taxes, or the equivalent of $1,011 per household. (IHS)
  • Visitor spending totaled $3.6 billion in 2013. The majority of expenditures, 55 percent, were by visitors from other U.S. states. International travelers made up 10 percent of the total, and in-state residents traveling to other parts of North Dakota accounted for 44 percent of spending. (IHS)
  • In 2014, every $1 invested in tourism advertising for North Dakota resulted in $94 in visitor spending. (Longwoods)
  • Canadian travelers are important to North Dakota Tourism. Canadians spent more than $266 million here in 2012. (Statistics Canada)
  • The top five U.S. states requesting visitor information are Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio.
  • The top six overseas markets requesting visitor information are UK, Germany, Italy, Australia/New Zealand, Nordic region and France.
  • Tourism is North Dakota’s fifth-largest employer supporting 26,600 jobs. (IHS)
  • Approximately $787 million in wages and salaries are generated through North Dakota tourism. (IHS)
 
Travel is one of America’s largest industries
Source: U.S. Travel Association
  • Direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2.6 billion a day, $108.1 million an hour, $1.8 million a minute and $30,033 a second.
  • Travel generates $2.1 trillion for the U.S. economy.
  • Direct travel spending in the U.S. totaled $947.1 billion by domestic and international travelers in 2015.
  • One in every 9 American jobs depends on travel.
  • Each U.S. household would pay $1,187 MORE in taxes without the tax revenue generated by the travel industry.

Get connected to great information about vacationing in North Dakota by becoming a fan of Travel North Dakota at www.facebook.com/TravelND or following North Dakota Tourism on Twitter at twitter.com/NorthDakota or Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/northdakotalegendary.
 
To see a calendar of events and learn about all there is to experience in North Dakota, request a copy of the North Dakota Travel Guide by calling 800-435-5663 or NDtourism.com
 

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          Developing Dakota: State Takes Roll in Promoting Economic Growth   
By Minot Daily News
Distracted briefly by an oil boom, North Dakota's economic development focus is back on track.

The emphasis on diversification and value-added industry that has been primary since the oil bust and agricultural downturn of the 1980s hasn't lost relevance, according to Bank of North Dakota President Eric Hardmeyer.

"But when you have a boom like we had, that tends to take a lot of energy and oxygen," he said. With the oil industry slowdown, the Bank of North Dakota is regrouping and examining how to update its economic development programs to accomplish its diversification mission.

"North Dakota had been working its way down that path pretty well. Because of that, we are in a better place than we were in the '80s and '90s certainly," Hardmeyer said. "We have a much more diversified economy today."

He sees more value-added projects developing on both the agriculture and energy side in the future. In terms of state support programs, restructuring may have to occur to deal with the new paradigm of today's economy, he said.

Hardmeyer said bank officials are re-examining existing programs and visiting with community and economic development leaders around the state "to really understand the issues that they are dealing with and to proactively deal with them by coming back with maybe a slate of programs designed to take on the new economy."

Fact Box

Future metropolitan area?

Minot's growth trend has the city on course to achieve metropolitan status within the next four years, according to North Dakota's census director.

Kevin Iverson, who manages census data in the North Dakota Commerce Department, said Minot could achieve the designation of a metropolitan statistical area sometime between 2017 and 2020. Minot is designated as part of a micropolitan area that includes Ward, Renville and McHenry counties. For a micropolitan area to become a metropolitan area, there must be a core city with a population of 50,000.

The last estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau showed Minot with a population of 47,997 as of July 2014. Estimates also show Minot's micropolitan area grew by 1,855 residents from July 2014 to July 2015 to 79,814. The 2015 population estimate for the city of Minot hasn't yet been released.

One of the advantages of a metropolitan designation is the amount of statistical data that becomes available for planning and other uses. Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks are metropolitan areas.

Iverson also noted that North Dakota's economy of the past several years has drawn younger people to the state and encouraged more youth to stay, causing the average age in the state to drop by more than two years to just under 35 years in 2014. That has meant more young families, a demand for child care and crowded schools, especially at the younger grades.

Even with the slowdown in oil activity and tougher times in agriculture, estimates are that North Dakota gained about 17,000 people through natural increase and in-migration in 2015.

The Commerce Department reported the slowdown in oil activity and drop in agricultural commodity prices contributed to a $2 billion hit to North Dakota's Gross Domestic Product between 2014 and 2015. Officials say that's a small decline in what has been a $55 billion economy. In comparison, North Dakota's GDP in 2005 was about $25 billion.

"Now is one of those reflection points, where you really take a look at what you have and say, 'Are we meeting all the needs? What does it look like now? What should we have in place?'" Hardmeyer said.

"We are out there right now really trying to get the lay of the land," he added. "We have been directed by the Industrial Commission to go out there and begin that work, so we have. We have started that work with the idea we are out in front of this. If we need new programs, new money, we at least have an idea of how to go forward with a legislative agenda."

A program that has been a mainstay since the 1990s has been PACE, which is geared value-added and manufacturing jobs. The state followed up with Flex PACE to provide assistance beyond just manufacturers and job creation and respond more to what communities believe are essential services. The state also has beginning entrepreneur and venture capital programs that have been successful.

Each of the state's various business assistance programs have had an impact, and that's especially true of those that have been around a while, such as the North Dakota Development Fund, said Paul Lucy, director of economic development in the North Dakota Commerce Department.

"It has been kind of a stalwart program," he said of the Development Fund. "The Development Fund is a gap financing program.

As companies or projects are looking for financing, many times there's a variety of different reasons you may not be able to get all the financing with a typical commercial lender. The Development Fund can come into those projects and fill a gap."

Tax incentives and programs that target investors can't be overlooked, he added.

"Those programs that motivate the private sector to invest in those entrepreneur companies are programs that we might not see immediate results in terms of significant impact, but I truly believe that long-term for the state of North Dakota, those are some of the critical programs that we really need to have in the state," Lucy said.

Tax credits are another way the state supports businesses, including breaks on sales tax for equipment purchases and for increasing manufacturing automation to stay competitive. Expanding opportunities and creating demand for more skilled labor through automation results in higher wages, Lucy said.

North Dakota already has risen from 38th among states in per capita income to ninth in 2015, down somewhat from sixth place in 2014, according to the Commerce Department. The state's 5.1 percent income growth from 2007-2015 led all states by far.

Job training programs, another form of state assistance, have been used extensively by businesses to find employees for those more skilled, better-paying jobs.

"Any business that comes into the state, what's the biggest question they ask? Can we get the workforce? We have more people exiting the workforce than we have coming into it in the state," said Kevin Iverson, state census director.

North Dakota has a large number of baby boomers and a correspondingly small percentage of youth in their teens to replace boomers when they retire. During the time those teens were born, North Dakota was experiencing an out-migration of the young people who were starting families. That will require an in-migration of workers, beginning in about 2020 to 2022 to cover that gap, Iverson said.

Lucy said North Dakota's core industries, particularly in energy and agriculture, are so important that the state will be relying on them for decades, if not centuries. At the same time, diversification helps survive down times, and North Dakota has seen new ideas and companies coming forward that would not have been dreamed about 25 or 35 years ago, he said.

It is in tough times that the state sees more innovation and value-added projects, he said.

"If North Dakota wants to continue to grow, have a strong economy, the key to that success will all hinge on our ability to continue to diversify," he said. "There are a number of new things happening across the state. It's really an exciting time for North Dakota."

Hardmeyer agrees these post-boom years can be exciting.

"This has been painful in a lot of ways, but I think we are really set up for a really bright future," he said. "With the infrastructure in place, the fact that we know how to get the oil and all the gathering systems, I think we are in a really good place now to move forward with new initiatives."

Previously reported as, "Developing Dakota: State Takes Roll in Promoting Economic Growth - Minot Daily News".
 

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          North Dakota Ranks Third in National Economic Competitiveness Ranking   
By ND Commerce
North Dakota ranks third best state in a national report that compares each state’s economic competitiveness.

In its annual report called “Rich States, Poor States,” the American Legislative Exchange Council found that North Dakota is among the best states in implementing “pro-growth” economic policies. 

“This competitive index shows that North Dakota continues to take the right steps to keep taxes low, to support our workforce development and to advance many other important pro-growth policies that enable businesses to thrive and our economy to grow and diversify,” North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. 

The American Legislative Exchange Council bases its economic competitive index on 15 equally weighted policy variables, including regulatory policies and tax policies. North Dakota’s strong performance included high rankings for low property tax burden, low debt service, effective tax policy and a low income tax burden. 

Utah received the top ranking, followed by North Carolina, North Dakota and Wyoming. Rich States, Poor States can be found at www.alec.org/rsps

The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services. 

For more North Dakota news and information go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          Dalrymple Highlights State's Economic Strength, Opportunities   
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple kicked off the first annual Demographics Conference in Bismarck today by highlighting North Dakota’s economic strength and how the state’s diversified economy is helping to weather fluctuations in the energy and agriculture industries.
 
The focus of the conference was to help participants understand important socio-economic and demographic trends in North Dakota and how those trends impact citizens, businesses and communities. The inaugural event was a collaborative effort between the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the North Dakota Compass at North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota Department of Economics, and was held at the
National Energy Center of Excellence on the Bismarck State College campus.
 
“For more than a decade, we have worked hard and strategically to diversify our economy and expand our target industries and those efforts have produced real results with increased economic production, job growth and rising wages,” said Dalrymple. “Despite a downturn in commodity prices impacting the state’s two leading industries, our diversified economic base is strong and growing, with many exciting advancements occurring in the technology, manufacturing and aviation sectors. Our economy is strong and North Dakota continues to be a great place to do business.”
 
During his remarks, Dalrymple stated that North Dakota’s continued economic growth stems from nearly every business sector across the state and that no single industry tells the whole story of North Dakota’s progress. He highlighted the state’s economic strength relative to production growth, unemployment, job openings and per capita personal income.
 
  • The state’s Gross Domestic Product through 3rd quarter 2015 is still performing well above the 2012-2013 levels.
  • North Dakota continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at just 2.9 percent for February 2016.
  • As of March 2016, North Dakota has more than 15,000 job openings across the state.
  • North Dakota has one of the fastest growing populations in the nation. Up until 2008, North Dakota was losing population. In 2013 alone, more than 18,000 new residents moved to the state. Between 2010 and 2014, North Dakota’s overall population increased 9.9 percent.
  • North Dakota continues to be one of only a few states whose populations are getting younger, with 9.6 percent of residents between the age of 20 and 24 compared to 7.1 percent nationally.
  • Since the fourth quarter of 2007, North Dakota’s personal income has led the nation in growth at an annual rate of 5.1 percent. In 2015, even with the economic slowdown, the state still ranked in the top 10 for per capita personal income at number 9 in the nation. 
The Governor also highlighted some of the advancements and opportunities emerging from North Dakota’s target industries and cited examples of businesses throughout the state that are reporting job and revenue growth.
 
  • North Dakota is well positioned in the energy industry as Bakken Shale is shown as the best cost value oil in the U.S. oil plays. Efficiencies in the industry are lowering the break-even point for companies to make a profit.
  • The state’s technology-based business sector is growing and diversifying, and leading the nation in innovative advances. The state’s technology industry payroll has grown to more than $1 billion a year, providing an average wage of $79,500. Companies like Microsoft and Amazon have long called North Dakota home. They, together with other high-tech companies like NISC, Intelligent Insites and Appareo, have shown growth in the state and continue to expand.
  • North Dakota is home to a growing cluster of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) research, business and military interests. Partnerships among private businesses, universities and state government strengthen North Dakota’s position as a leader in UAS. The state is one of six Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS test sites conducting research to determine how to best integrate UAS into the national airspace. The FAA certified the Northern Plains UAS Test Site as the first site ready for operations in April 2014. Northrop Grumman and General Atomics — world leaders in aviation and aerospace — are investing millions in North Dakota.
  • Manufacturers in North Dakota account for 5.8 percent of the total output in the state and employ 5.6 percent of the workforce. Total output from manufacturing was $3.25 billion in 2014. In addition, there were 25,900 manufacturing employees in North Dakota in 2015, with an average annual compensation of $55,754.


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          North Dakota Renewable Energy Program Accepting Applications   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Industrial Commission is currently accepting applications through May 1st for the North Dakota Renewable Energy Program. The program funds projects that involve research and development of renewable energy technologies and processes that have strong growth potential in North Dakota. 

The Legislature established the program in 2007 to provide funding for research, development, marketing and education to foster growth of renewable energy including wind, biofuels, biomass, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and hydrogen. 

For more information on these projects or the program, contact Andrea Pfennig (701-426-5295) or Karlene Fine (701-328-3722).

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          North Dakota's Demographics Conference to be Held April 6 in Bismarck   
By ND Commerce
The first annual North Dakota’s Demographics Conference will be held on Wednesday, April 6th, at the National Energy Center of Excellence on the Bismarck State College campus. This event is a collaborative effort of the North Dakota Department of Commerce, North Dakota Compass at North Dakota State University and University of North Dakota Department of Economics. 

"Over the past few years North Dakota has experienced a reversal of what had been a long-term trend – outmigration. In-migration of younger individuals for jobs is changing the make-up of the state’s population creating new opportunities and challenges,” conference leader and North Dakota Census Office Manager Kevin Iverson said. “The Demographics Conference will focus on how demographics impact citizens, businesses and communities.” 

National and local presenters will help participants understand important socio-economic and demographic trends in North Dakota. The conference will provide tools and access to important data and demonstrations on how to use data to create measurable impact in communities. 

Governor Jack Dalrymple will be among the featured speakers during the event, speaking to the state’s record economic growth and continued progress on diversifying the state’s economy. Other speakers and panelists include Andy Hait of the U.S. Census Bureau, addressing how to best use Census data; and Dr. Paul Mattessich, of Wilder Research, giving attendees tools on how to use data to make strategic decisions for their communities. 

Cost for the event is $99. For additional information or to register for the conference visit: www.ndcensus.gov.

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          Dickinson Manufacturers Rise in Wake of Oil Bust   
By The Dickinson Press
Though the oil industry tends to be more visible, Dickinson’s manufacturing sector has historically been a significant driver of the town’s economy.             
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Gaylon Baker, executive vice president of the Stark Development Corp., said there are more than a dozen manufacturing businesses in the immediate Dickinson area that collectively employ about 1,500 people.

Baker said the diversity of the sector — which makes goods ranging from learning and instructional kits for the schoolroom to metal fabrication bound for coal mines — is the “great thing about it” and protects against failure of any one trend.

Another benefit of the Dickinson manufacturing scene is the “organic” nature of the companies that make it.

“This is home to them,” Baker said. “And as they grow and expand, this will continue to be home. We’re seeing Dickinson-based companies putting operations in other towns, which is good for them and also good for us.”

Baker said the oil boom years, as a whole, had a mixed impact on the city’s manufacturers.

While the Bakken economy was hot, it was also an unusually bright spot in an otherwise cool national landscape still struggling after the recession and wary of purchasing new manufactured goods.

Additionally, the draw of the oilfield during the boom was a “burden” for staffing in that period, Baker said, as businesses not related to the energy industry were forced to compete with high oil money wages.

However, he said the flipside of that burden in the post-boom years is a larger pool of educated workers brought fresh into the area by the promise of oil and settled into the city’s expanded stock of available housing.

Baker said Dickinson’s manufacturers have, on the whole, withstood some turbulence and could be poised for “an awful good year.”

“They’ve held their own, got through it OK and are ramping up to meet increased demand,” he said.

‘We’re taking better care of our people’

Dickinson baked goods manufacturer Baker Boy was one such business that struggled to compete with big oil.

Baker Boy President Guy Moos said the last five or six years have been “challenging” in terms of finding an adequate workforce, but that the situation has shifted “dramatically” within the last year.

“We went through a time there when we could not staff adequately and could not fill customer orders — that’s all changed,” Moos said.

Though the company is now nearly fully staffed at 210 workers, Moos said, the past scarcity of labor had negatively impacted production at the plant. Difficulty filling customer orders resulted in the company selling off a portion of the bakery’s business to a company in Texas last year.

“If we had a crystal ball and it would have told us that things would change so dramatically, that would have been great,” he said with a laugh. “But I think even today, we did the right thing. We’re really positioned well for taking care of our customers and have been filling orders really well for the last year.”

Moos said the upswing at Baker Boy has manifested itself in what seems to be a “very good” year ahead in terms of sales and growth.

He said the company added a new salesperson in the Denver area last fall and is in the process of placing a distributor there as well. Baker Boy also recently added distributors in Kansas and Missouri, he said.

Moving forward, Moos said the company has requested participation in a flex PACE loan with Stark Development Corp. to add on infrastructure and automation at the Dickinson plant through a capital investment of about $3 million.

“We wouldn’t be doing that if we couldn’t staff our company,” he said. “ … We really think that we’ve got just a small window of opportunity here to increase the automation so we can pay our people more so that, when oil does come back, we can retain our valued employees.”

Moos attributes increased personnel security to upward adjustments made to the plant’s starting pay more than a year ago.

He said the increase had a “nice effect, immediately” and believes it continues to support the company’s development in the face of a more slowly growing national restaurant and food-service market.

Moos said he believes Baker Boy is “doing better today than well before the boom,” in part due to the re-investment in personnel.

“I think we’re taking better care of our people, and that’s making a difference,” he said.

TMI sees upturn in Bakken’s downturn

Maybe more than Baker Boy, Dickinson laminate casework manufacturer TMI Systems Design could serve as a case-study of the city’s unique position in the national economy.

TMI President Dennis Johnson said the company is “very busy” at the moment with backlogs up 40 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Johnson said TMI, which largely produces cabinets, countertops and millwork, is currently benefitting from subsequent trends of recovery in the national construction sector and sustained loss of competition within its marketplace.

The survival of TMI is due in part, he said, to growth sparked by the oil boom.

“Because of Bakken development, we had a strong local market,” Johnson said. “Western North Dakota, eastern Montana, Wyoming — these were part of what we consider local market and they were quite strong. Even though national market declined dramatically, our local market actually grew.”

Despite that strong local market, the national construction crash was a trial for the company.

Johnson said TMI’s employment dropped from 400 workers to nearly 210, and that sales fell about 40 percent by the time TMI bottomed out.

But throughout the last year, the fortunes of oil and the national economy inverted and the company began adding staff, a trend Johnson said should increase the TMI workforce by up to 30 people. Among the number of employees gained are former staff members who left during the boom, he added.

Johnson noted that oil prices had fallen by more than 60 percent from their peak around the time TMI began hiring.

“Our downturn coincided with the Bakken upturn and now our upturn is coinciding with the Bakken downturn,” he said. “ … That’s just kind of luck, in a sense.”

Johnson said he’s hopeful the company could possibly get back to pre-recession employment levels within four to five years.

Beyond adding on personnel late last year, Johnson said TMI also made its first major equipment investment in about six years.

Johnson expressed optimism on the direction of the business, which he said has some “positive momentum” going for it.

“I actually feel TMI is, a lot of respects, a stronger company today than it was five or six years ago,” he said. “A lot of that has to do with weathering and experiencing the adversity of downturns like we did.”

Medora Corp. banks on innovation

The Medora Corp., producer of mass-quantity water treatment machinery and the SolarBee brand, differs from both TMI and Baker Boy to the extent it was able to capitalize on the oil boom as it was happening.

Medora Corp. President Joel Bleth said the company located north of Dickinson lost only about five people out of a total workforce of 70 to the oilfield. Still, he said it’s now “much easier” to get applicants for open positions than it was during the boom.

While it brought some challenges, Bleth said the boom has been a plus for the company in terms of hiring and product development.

“We maybe lost a couple people, but we also picked up some great people who were spouses of those who came up with the oilfield,” Bleth said. “In some ways, the oilfield brought one-half of a couple and we got the other half.”

Most Medora Corp. products aren’t related to the oilfield, but Bleth said the company has developed “a few” with oil industry applications that “had a much greater potential” before the oil slump.

Those applications include mixers for fresh water tanks used for fracking and oil well injections, as well as some other work done with extractors looking to clean produced water for use in fracking operations.

“The oil industry was starting to present some opportunities for our company — it’ll be there someday, but potential has slowed down,” Bleth said.“ … We have some products that, as oilfield picks up, we’ll be in a good position to start an effort to market them.”

Bleth said Medora Corp. has machinery in 20 different countries and has restored nearly 400 lakes struck with algae blooms and other water-quality issues.

The company has recently developed a skid-mounted trihalomethane removal system for potable water sources that Bleth said can be used to treat water on a localized level.

Moving through this year, he said the company’s gameplan is one of sustained product growth.

“We believe with the world changing so fast, we need to constantly innovate, even if it means we’re our own biggest competitor,” he said.

Baker predicts continued rise of manufacturing

More than a year after oil prices began to fall, Baker said he believes local manufacturers will continue to rise.

The potential, or hope, for recovery in the oil business could potentially draw interest in products for that industry, but ultimately Baker said the human talent brought in for oil will be one of the biggest spurs for the manufacturing sector.

Though sluggish oil prices hurts, Baker said the city’s economic outlook is otherwise positive.

“If we blanked out the oil industry and looked at everything else going on, this would be a wonderful year for Dickinson, N.D.,” he said.

Dickinson Manufacturers Rise in Wake of Oil Bust - The Dickinson Press

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          VIDEO: Assumption Parish Sinkhole Swallows Trees   
The Assumption Parish sinkhole, a massive opening in the earth that is believed to be the result of a collapsed salt dome used by petrochemical services company Texas Brine, underwent a sudden growth spurt around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Parish officials were on hand to witness a process called a "slough-in," where the edge of the sinkhole collapses into the hole. Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness director John Boudreaux took this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRhesBaRCME&feature=share&list=UURi6D8S8okOdYsJ-39YOvJw
          Dalrymple Welcomes News of State's Record Population   
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple today welcomed news that North Dakota’s population has reached an all-time high of 756,927, an increase of 16,887 residents since last year’s U.S. Census Bureau count. North Dakota’s population has grown by 2.5 percent since last year, the largest percent increase among all states, the Census Bureau reported today.
 
“It’s great to see that our economic growth continues to keep North Dakotans home and that we are attracting new residents who come for good jobs, a strong economy and our great quality of life,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “After decades of out-migration and population decline, North Dakota’s economy continues to drive a dramatic shift in our demographics.  North Dakota’s population is growing, getting younger and our citizens are taking advantage of more opportunities than ever before.”
 
In the early 2000s, North Dakota was one of only a few states with a declining and aging population. The state began to reverse that trend in 2004, with an estimated population of about 645,000 residents. Since then, North Dakota’s population has grown every year, with a total increase of more than 110,000 residents.
 
The in-migration of adults of child-bearing age is playing a major role in the state’s current population trend, said Kevin Iverson, manager of the North Dakota Census Office.  In just the past 10 years, the number of births in North Dakota has steadily increased from about 8,380 to last year’s birth count of 11,352.
 
Additionally, North Dakota is becoming younger, with the state’s median age dropping in 2014 to 34.9 years of age – two years younger than the median age recorded just 10 years ago, Iverson said. North Dakota’s median age is now the 4th youngest in the nation. In 2010, North Dakota’s median age ranked 24th, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
 
Driving North Dakota’s positive demographic trends are the state’s economy and plentiful job opportunities.  North Dakota’s economy continues to be among the nation’s strongest.  In the past five years, the state’s economy has averaged an annual growth rate of nearly 12 percent, four times that of the national economy.
 
North Dakota’s unemployment rate of 2.7 percent is the nation’s lowest.  The state has created more than 123,000 net jobs since 2000, and employers currently report having nearly 16,000 open positions.
 
Personal incomes in North Dakota have also improved dramatically in just the past 10 years.  In 2004, the state’s per-capita personal income was below the national average and ranked 38th among all states. Last year, North Dakota’s per-capita personal income ranked 4th highest among all states at 121 percent of the national average.
 
The North Dakota Census Office has developed charts with more detail about North Dakota’s demographics.  The information is available at: http://www.commerce.nd.gov/census/Demographics/PopulationGraphs/

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          Inside Fargo, America's Most Undervalued Tech Hub   
By Fortune
Editor's Note: Congratulations to the many Fargo-area businesses mentioned in this article. Many of them have participate in ND Commerce programs such as Innovate ND, Centers of Excellence and Centers of Research Excellence, Research ND and the North Dakota Development Fund.

It gets 50 inches of snow a year and is so cold that its bikeshare moves inside for the winter. But its homegrown tech community is on fire.

The morning of Nov. 12, 2014 was well below freezing in Fargo, the largest city in North Dakota. By the time Shawn Muehler took the stage before an audience of 150, the theater, located just a few blocks west of the Red River, had warmed up. Entrepreneurs, students, professors and business leaders shuffled down the aisles with free cups of coffee. For the audience, it was time for Fargo’s 1 Million Cups, a robust startup community-building initiative from the Kaufman Foundation that’s a kind of church for entrepreneurs. For Muehler, it was time to talk about drones.

Standing on stage with one of his drones, Muehler—a Fargo native, Air Force officer, and seasoned pilot—had six minutes to present his business idea, the result of several months of white-board calculating, late-night brainstorming, and endless code tinkering. He described the collision risks found in an airspace that is increasingly crowded with aircraft and drones. The software that he and his small team of pilots, developers, and engineers wanted to build, he explained, would create a safety net for drone pilots, enabling them to track their unmanned vehicles in real time using existing cellular networks.

Muehler’s presentation was followed by vigorous applause and a round of questions. As is tradition at 1 Million Cups, the entrepreneur was asked one final query: “How can we as a community help you succeed?” And so he answered. Within five days, Muehler tells Fortune, he had five funding opportunities from people in the community. The ensuing $500,000 seed investment allowed him to double his workforce and move to a larger office downtown.

Last spring the company, now called Botlink, launched the beta version of its drone-tracking application, which it says is the world’s first commercially available drone safety and control platform. In June, Botlink announced a joint venture with Fargo’s power management company, Packet Digital, to raise $15 million on the same day that it co-hosted Fargo’s inaugural Drone Focus Conference. By this fall, the company had launched its first product: a piece of data-processing hardware that’s compatible with every drone on the market.

When I visited the Botlink office in September, the staff had just returned from a drone conference in Las Vegas where they’d run out of brochures the first day and flummoxed some West Coast startups who didn’t realize they had competitors in Fargo. Half-empty containers of drones now littered the floor around the reception desk, making the office look like the home of a robot family unpacking from a long trip. In the workshop down the hall, a plane with a 14-foot wingspan sat on a desk, and Muehler, wearing a Batman t-shirt, was one of the first to tell me what makes Fargo special.

Well before I arrived in Fargo, I’d heard about Silicon Prairie—the Heartland’s version of Silicon Valley—with noteworthy startup activity in larger cities like Omaha, Des Moines, and Kansas City. I knew Fargo was on the eastern border of the state, far from the oil activity in the Bakken region. I’d read that it’s home to the country’s third-largest Microsoft  MSFT 0.65% campus and nearly 30,000 college students. The average age of Fargo residents is 31. Its unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation. I had already grasped enough about this city of 105,000 to easily dismiss the Siberia-esque picture painted in the 1996 Coen brothers film of the same name. I envisioned a burst of Technicolor popping from a vast expanse of plains.

The tech scene that I visited in September was markedly different from the one I had first heard about in 2013. Two years ago Emerging Prairie, a startup news and events organization, was beginning to establish itself; today it co-organizes wildly popular events such as 1 Million Cups, TEDxFargo, and a monthly gathering called Startup Drinks. Thanks to local startup Myriad Mobile, which spun out of a student-run incubator, Fargo has begun hosting the annual Midwest Mobile Summit. A nonprofit has started offering coding classes for women. Meetups have launched for hackers, gamers, developers, geeks, and even bitcoin enthusiasts.

Fargo companies are also beginning to appear in the national spotlight. Intelligent InSites, which provides tracking real-time operational intelligence for the healthcare industry, is experiencing explosive growth. So is Appareo Systems, a leader in electronic and computer products for the aerospace and defense industries. A handful of gaming companies have surfaced in the area; one is developing a virtual reality horror game and another is building a woodland survival adventure game called On My Ownfor Xbox One. A team from North Dakota State University has engineered an affordable, 3D-printed prosthetic arm. Two locals have started a funeral webcasting service. Another startup has developed an autonomous tractor.

With all of this activity, how does a place like Fargo end up as one of the most undervalued, overlooked tech communities in the United States? That’s why I wanted to meet Greg Tehven, the executive director and co-founder of Emerging Prairie and affectionately known as Fargo’s ambassador, when I visited the city this fall. On a warm Sunday afternoon, I found him at a community lunch for new Americans, set up for several hundred on a basketball court on the west side of town. Characteristic of the region, the wind blew like it was trying to prove something; strong guests sent naan cartwheeling across curry vegetables and off paper plates. Young Bhutanese girls danced barefoot on the asphalt in sequined dresses the color of Gerber daisies.

Tehven is a soft-spoken, dyed-in-the-wool millennial, a fifth-generation Fargoian who grew up on a farm and came of age during the Buffalo Commons era, when people debated a proposal to let buffalo take over the Great Plains. Tehven left Fargo for college, wandered around, felt unfulfilled and returned, determined to build the type of community he wanted to call home. Today, he travels around the country speaking about community-building and teaches social entrepreneurship in India.

“Barriers are being eliminated to contribute to the community here,” he told me. “People who have moved away know they can come back here and do things quickly.” He talked about a radically inclusive culture that has an extraordinary speed of trust. In economic terms, what’s happening in Fargo is that a magnetic downtown is attracting and retaining talent. But Tehven contends that it’s really about love.

“It’s about increasing the amount of love in our community,” he said, noting that it’s hard to be successful on your own. “There’s a co-dependence here.” He said people need each other, whether it’s for harvesting crops or recovering from a flood. If emotional support is absent, innovation will falter.

The next morning, I met Tehven at Prairie Den, a new coworking space in the center of town, above a Chinese restaurant called King House Buffet. Until this summer, it was run by Minneapolis-based CoCo, but they didn’t last a year, Tehven said, because they didn’t embrace the philosophy of giving before getting. Shortly after they left, the space was resurrected as the Den, a funky, art-filled workspace that’s home to Emerging Prairie and a couple start-ups. Hearing the story of this rebirth made me think of the new growth that quickly emerges in forests after controlled burns.

One of the reasons Emerging Prairie was created was to act as a publicity machine for locals who think it’s uncouth to celebrate one’s own achievements. The organization, which is in the process of becoming a nonprofit, now has a staff of four, including a writer, Marisa Jackels, who produces daily stories about the startup scene. She never runs out of content. Tehven has each new staff member read Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City by Foundry Group co-founder Brad Feld.

If Fargo had to limit itself to a single story, it would be that of Great Plains Software, a fledgling startup built by North Dakotan Doug Burgum over nearly two decades and acquired by Microsoft in 2001 for $1.1 billion. Today, Microsoft is located on the south side of town and has grown to four buildings with more than 1,500 employees—the company’s third-largest campus in North America.

Burgum went on to found Kilbourne Group, a downtown redevelopment company, and co-found Arthur Ventures, a venture capital group that’s investing in software companies out of a $45 million fund raised in 2013. He’s as close to a godfather as the humble Fargo community will allow. Incidentally, it wasn’t until well after a conversation with a community leader named Joe—who started a downtown farmer’s market, worked on Uber-friendly legislation and is now building a giant mobile sauna—that I found out he was Burgum’s son.

Burgum said Great Plains employees focused on service and had a lot of humility and gratitude; he sees that today in the dozens of startups that employ Great Plains alumni. Like others, he told me that the region’s land and history play a role in today’s technology growth.

“Every farmer and rancher is an entrepreneur and tinkerer and inventor,” he said, “and there’s some of that DNA here. You wouldn’t have ended up here if you weren’t a risk-taker—moving your family from Sweden to a new land with no electricity and very little infrastructure.”

Shane Waslaski, president and CEO of Intelligent InSites, also grew up in the state and said the strong tech community in Fargo can be attributed to a pioneering spirit and an “altruistic desire to nourish each other.” Tenaciousness and perseverance are rooted in the heritage, he said.

From Prairie Den, Tehven and I walked around downtown, popping into offices and meetings unannounced and intercepting folks on Broadway and Roberts Street—as was his plan. I was reminded of the familiarity and ease with which students can have impromptu and rich conversations while walking across a college quad. Time and again, talking to Muehler and other entrepreneurs, I heard stories that made it easy to root for the underdog that is Fargo. I found a level of enthusiasm typically reserved for young political candidates offering hope and promising change. More than once, I saw someone get choked up talking about the place they call home.

We ran into Drew Spooner, a baby-faced serial entrepreneur who started the Hammock Initiative and speaks deadpan about the health benefits of swaying. He now has sponsors and a national following. Then we ran into the woman behind Unglued, a shop selling locally made crafts; and one of the brewers behind Fargo Brewing Company, which makes Wood Chipper India Pale Ale. Much of the day, Tehven, wearing jeans and flannel, walked around with a cup of coffee in his hand. He told me there’s a sense in Fargo that if you talk about something enough, it will become real—whether it’s a hammocking craze or a spontaneous tailgate party.

Among the challenges in a town with so much startup activity is making sure the entrepreneurs have enough support to get over the first-generation hump and maintain momentum even when the initial spotlight fades.

“In cities like San Francisco, Boston, New York, there’s a lot of experience and expertise,” said Miguel Danielson, another Emerging Prairie co-founder. “That’s great for entrepreneurs because it’s scary to do alone. So a lot of what we do at Emerging Prairie is try to bring these folks together.” He lovingly describes Fargo—remote, hundreds of miles from Minneapolis and Winnipeg—as a Gilligan’s Island of sorts. “You’re stuck with the folks you’ve got in the immediate vicinity, so you better be nice to them,” he said, adding that in a small place, he feels especially blessed when he finds others with common interests.

Danielson grew up in Fargo and left for college and Harvard Law School. If it weren’t for the startup culture—which is helping Midwestern communities fight brain drain–he may never have returned. After practicing in Cambridge for several years, he opened Danielson Legal in Fargo, specializing in technology law, and he created Fargo Startup House, where entrepreneurs can live for free.

In the next five years, Danielson predicts a more robust Fargo tech scene, with a few wild successes and some wild failures. When the city sees its first exit success story of this new era—someone who starts with nothing and ends up with hundreds of millions of dollars—he said that will be “one that looms in the minds of people forever.”

At the end of my day in Fargo, I returned to Prairie Den. Spooner was setting up hammocks for an evening event. An Emerging Prairie Tweet read, “We sway while we work.”

That night, I watched a video of Tehven’s TEDxFargo talk. He was speaking at the Fargo Civic Center in 2014, outside of which sits a stone slab with the Ten Commandments.

“The Coen brothers were wrong,” he told the audience. “It isn’t a place of barrenness. It isn’t a place of cold. It’s a place of the most amazing people in the world.”

The following week I had dinner back home with a friend who works in the technology industry, and I told him I thought he should move to Fargo. Yes, it’s a place that gets an average of 50 inches of snow a year, and it’s so cold that the bikeshare moves inside for the winter. But there’s a lot going on there, I told him. Shortly thereafter, I woke up from a dream in which I was on my way back to Fargo. In it, I was with someone—perhaps my tech friend—and felt a sense of urgency. Eager to find housing, I sped westward, not wanting to miss out.

Inside Fargo, America's Most Undervalued Tech Hub - Fortune.com

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          Dalrymple, NDSU Officials Dedicate New Stem Building   
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple today joined North Dakota State University officials in celebrating the completion of a state-of-the-art instruction building dedicated to student advancement in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The three-story STEM Classroom and Lab Building includes 23 labs, nine classrooms, an auditorium and collaborative study areas which will serve as many as 5,000 students a day.
 
“This state-of-the-art instruction building will help the university build on its strong STEM education programs and support greater collaboration across disciplines,” Dalrymple said. “All that we have come to understand about effective teaching is incorporated into this building to enhance student readiness for the great job opportunities of the future.
 
“Buildings that encourage innovation, offer instructional flexibility, and merge multiple fields of study are a great training ground for the real world work environment,” Dalrymple said. “The demand for professionals in the STEM fields continues to grow as a result of our strong economy, and this facility will help NDSU prepare students for great careers right here in North Dakota.”
 
Following Dalrymple’s recommendation, the 63rd Legislative Assembly appropriated $29.4 million for the STEM building’s construction on the NDSU campus. It will be open for classes in January. The 119,000-square-foot building is a departure from traditional academic construction that supports a particular discipline or department.  Instead, the STEM building is student focused and encourages student and faculty collaboration between multiple areas of study.
 
“The building is the first of its kind at NDSU and in North Dakota and signals a new era for teaching and learning at the university,” NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani said. “We greatly appreciate the state of North Dakota making the building possible. This investment will benefit generations of future leaders and innovators.”
 
Dalrymple also led the establishment of the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund which has supported a major NDSU scholarship endowment for students in the STEM fields. North Dakota-based Doosan and Bobcat Co. contributed $3 million toward the permanent scholarship fund and the state’s Challenge Fund provided $1.5 million in matching funds.
 
For the past 10 years, North Dakota has led the nation in the growth of STEM jobs, adding 37 percent to its STEM workforce of engineers, technicians, and scientists, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study shows.
 
Among those joining Dalrymple for the STEM building’s dedication were Bresciani, Sen. Tim Flakoll, Doosan, Bobcat Co. North America President Rich Goldsbury, Doosan, Bobcat President and CEO Scott Park, NDSU Student Body President Eric McDaniel and NDSU Provost Beth Ingram.

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          Wrigley Highlights Trade Opportunities in North Dakota at Canadian Trade Summit   
By ND Governor's Office
Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley today addressed business leaders and entrepreneurs from Canada and the U.S. at the Saskatchewan USA Trade Summit. The two-day event, meant to raise awareness about the trade opportunities between Saskatchewan and the U.S., was held at the Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon Hotel in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
 
In his remarks, Wrigley touted North Dakota’s historic economic success and highlighted up and coming trade opportunities in key industry sectors such as technology, advanced manufacturing, aviation, and unmanned aerial systems.
 
“We have worked hard in North Dakota to diversify our economy and the success of those efforts is beneficial not only to our state but could be for our trade partners as well.” Wrigley said. “The successes North Dakota has experienced in the unmanned aerial systems industry are a great example of opportunities for trade that could be expanded upon in the future.”
 
Wrigley also cited North Dakota’s leadership position in several national rankings and studies, including best-run state, growth performer, housing growth and best state for young adults. He stated how North Dakota’s economic growth outpaced all other states in 2014, according to information released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), a position the state has held for four of the past five years. He also focused on North Dakota’s low unemployment, population growth and how the state’s median age is getting younger.

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          North Dakota Named Best Run State in Nation for Fourth Consecutive Year   
By 24/7 Wall St.
BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota was credited with being the best run state in the nation for a fourth consecutive year, according to a 24/7 Wall St. study released today. The study looks at data on financial health, standard of living and government services by the state to determine how well each state is managed.
 
“North Dakota continues to build an environment that supports business growth and creates quality of life for our citizens,” Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. “Being recognized for the fourth consecutive year by 24/7 Wall St. only goes to support that North Dakota is a great place for businesses and career seekers alike.”

The top five best run states were: North Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. The study determines how well states are run by looking at fiscal management, taxes, exports, and GDP growth by sectors, as well as, quality of life components such as poverty, income, unemployment, high school graduation, crime and foreclosure rates.
 
The study states: “with its nation-leading 2.8% unemployment rate, (North Dakota) has attracted large numbers of workers seeking high-paying jobs. Net migration over five years through 2014 accounts for 6.6% of North Dakota’s current population, the largest share of any state. The remarkable population growth is a testament to the state’s economic strength over the past several years.”

The full report is available at: http://247wallst.com/

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          North Dakota Ranks #4 on Forbes Best States for Business and Careers List   
By ND Commerce
North Dakota ranks first is a number of areas in the Forbes Best States for Business and Careers list, including:
  • 1st - Job Growth (4.7% annually, twice as high as any other state)
  • 1st - Income Growth (3.6%)
  • 1st - Gross State Product Growth (8.6%)
  • 1st - Unemployment (3.2% average)
  • 1st - Net Migration (1.4%)
 “Our business friendly environment and efforts to diversify the economy are continuing to keep North Dakota growing strong,” Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. “This is a place that has great opportunity for business and career alike.”

North Dakota ranks 4th overall in the list. The state ranked 3rd in economic climate and had the most robust economy in the nation in the past five-years.

The Forbes ranking factored in 40 data points across six main areas: business costs (weighted most heavily), labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. Forbes added several new criteria this year, including the number of millennials as a percent of the population.
 
“It is an opportunity to showcase the types of resources and opportunities we can offer," Anderson said. “Rankings of this nature draw attention from companies that may be considering doing business in North Dakota."
 
Utah ranked 1st in the Forbes report for the second year. The full report is available at http://www.forbes.com/best-states-for-business.
 
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
 
For more North Dakota news and information go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          Dalrymple Highlights North Dakota's Economic Growth, Vision for Future at Economic Summit in Fargo   
By ND Governor's Office
BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Jack Dalrymple, along with the Greater North Dakota Chamber and Valley Prosperity Partnership, today hosted the Governor’s Summit on Economic Growth to showcase the state’s economic diversity and generate ideas for future growth. The one-day event was held at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Fargo and brought together business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the state.
 
Dalrymple kicked off the summit by touting North Dakota’s historic economic success and laying out his vision for future growth and opportunity. He highlighted the economic development strategies that over the past decade have fueled the state’s economic growth and diversification, including an emphasis on job creation, building a strong business climate and targeting key industry sectors such as value-added agriculture, technology, advanced manufacturing and aviation. 
 
The Governor cited North Dakota’s leadership position in several national rankings and studies, including best-run state, growth performer, housing growth and best state for young adults. He stated how North Dakota’s economic growth outpaced all other states in 2014, according to information released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), a position the state has held for four of the past five years. He also focused on North Dakota’s low unemployment, population growth and how the state’s median age is getting younger.

“North Dakota’s economic growth stems from nearly every business sector, with no single industry telling the whole story of our state’s progress,” said Dalrymple. “We have worked hard to diversify our economy and grow our targeted business sectors, while capitalizing on emerging technologies and industries. This summit is a great opportunity to showcase our strengths and successes, and identify visionary and innovative ideas that will chart a course for North Dakota’s future growth.” 
 
During his remarks, Dalrymple spelled out his vision for future growth that includes building on the state’s economic development efforts and focusing on three key themes: people, places and opportunities. This vision will take North Dakota’s progress to the next level with an emphasis on quality of life and livability of communities, attracting a workforce to drive the state’s economic growth and making the state an obvious choice for those seeking diverse opportunities.
 
The Governor’s vision for growth includes such focuses as child care, affordable housing, education, outdoor recreation, Main Street revival, infrastructure enhancements, access to colleges and universities, and capital for business start-ups.
 
In addition to Dalrymple, the summit featured speakers and panelists covering topics such as attracting and retaining a workforce, accessing capital, and fostering innovation and entrepreneurial activity. Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley moderated a panel of business executives outlining a vision for building a workforce for tomorrow’s industries. The event also included a keynote by Joel Kotkin, an internationally-recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends. He is the author of the widely praised new book, The New Class Conflict, which describes the changing dynamics of class in America.
 
Other statistics Dalrymple cited detailing the state’s economic progress included:
  • During the 2015 Legislative Session, Dalrymple signed into law an additional $397 million in tax relief. Overall, since 2009, he has worked with the Legislature to reduce property and income taxes by more than $4.2 billion. 
  • Over the past five years, North Dakota’s per capita personal income has increased nearly 42 percent, bringing North Dakota to 121 percent of the national average, according to the BEA.
  • North Dakota had $5.3 billion worth of exports in 2014, an increase of $4.3 billion since 2004 when the total value of exports was $1 billion.
  • Since 2004, North Dakota has created 123,600 net new jobs, an increase of 36.6 percent.
  • North Dakota is ranked first in growth in the number, employment and revenues of women-owned firms since 1997. 

 

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          Dalrymple Celebrates Evolution1 Groundbreaking   
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple today joined Evolution1 employees to break ground on the growing technology company’s West Fargo office building.  A leading provider of cloud-based, consumer-directed healthcare and defined contributions payment solutions, Evolution1 has grown from a workforce of two to about 150 team members in the Fargo area.
 
“Evolution1 is another North Dakota success story and a great example of the leading innovation that is creating jobs and driving our continued economic growth,” Dalrymple said. “This building project will support Evolution1’s continued innovation and growth and it reflects our strong business climate and the ongoing economic development that sets North Dakota apart.”
 
Dalrymple joined Evolution1 leaders and other officials in breaking ground on a 40,000-square-foot office building that will bring all of the company’s local employees under one roof and support continued growth. Evolution1, a WEX company, provides technology solutions to 125,000 employer groups and more than 12 million healthcare consumers across the United States and Canada.
 
Evolution1 officials said North Dakota’s positive business climate and strong state support, including its workforce development services, played an important role in the company’s decision to build in West Fargo.  The company also has offices in Edina, Minn., Hartford, Conn., and St. Louis, Mo.
 
Those joining Dalrymple to break ground on the $8-million project included Evolution1 Senior Vice President and General Manager Jeff Young, WEX, Inc. President and CEO Melissa Smill, U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern.
 

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          State Energy Program Awards Funding Requests Totaling $266,652   
The North Dakota State Energy Program's (SEP) awarded funding requests for eight grants totaling $266,652.
 
SEP’s mission is to promote energy conservation and efficiency, and reduce the rate of growth of energy demand by developing and implementing a comprehensive state energy plan supported by Federal financial and technical assistance. 
 
The following projects were funded:
  • NDSU Architecture and Landscape Architecture, $105,607, to develop an eFargo education campaign including a K-12 competition, urban game, and catalogs and classes. For more information contact Malini Srivastava, 612-209-7745.         North Dakota Ethanol Council, $30,000, to expand the offering of E15 in the state and increasing the use of distillers grains in the state.  For more information contact Deana Wiese, 701-355-4458.
  • City of Fargo, $25,244, for the assessments of existing buildings and/or buildings currently in design and construction from an energy use perspective.  For more information contact Malini Srivastava, 612-209-7745.
  • Energy & Environmental Research Center, $58,301, to conduct an assessment of North Dakota’s solar potential, analysis of advantages and disadvantages of PV solar power utilization in North Dakota and present the information to the public.  For more information contact Malhar Khambete, 701-777-5403.
  • North Dakota State College of Science, $25,000, to retrofit light fixtures to LED light fixtures.  For more information contact David Cooper, 701-671-2154.
  • North Dakota State University, $18,500, to provide education regarding agricultural energy efficiency.  For more information contact Ken Hellevang, 701-231-7243.
  • North Dakota Solid Waste & Recycling Association, $2,000, to host a conference regarding recycling. For more information contact Sheryl Koop, 701-330-4391.
  • Cedar Soil Conservation District, $2,000, to host a Bismarck Earth Day Festival. For more information contact Kathy Duttenhefner, 701-328-5370. The SEP provides a range of energy conservation and renewable energy related areas, including energy education, buildings, commercial/industrial, energy codes, and transportation. The SEP program receives formula funds from the Department of Energy.
Additional information on the program is available at: http://www.communityservices.nd.gov/SEP

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          Burst of Growth in Hotels Extends Across the State   
By The Bismarck Tribune
Ashok "Smiley" Thakker is just trying to keep up.

The owner of seven hotels in Grand Forks has watched as more and more competition springs up around town. Since the beginning of 2014, the city has seen an influx of six new hotels -- all of which sit on South 42nd Street.

The burst of growth in hotels isn't limited to Grand Forks but extends to other cities across the state. Overall, the number of hotels operating in five major North Dakota cities has jumped by 39 percent from five years ago.

The spike in new establishments doesn't come without consequences for the industry.

Hotels' annual occupancy rates and other key indicators that measure the industry's success are falling in Grand Forks and across the state.

An abundance of new hotels has owners such as Thakker trying to find a solution to attract guests and keep their businesses afloat.

Thakker reopened his Ramada Inn this past week after a large-scale renovation, which included refurbishing guest rooms, the restaurant, lobby, restrooms and more.

"It's been a big project," Thakker said.

Grand Forks has seen a 29 percent increase in available hotel rooms since 2010, according to data from the North Dakota Department of Commerce Tourism Division. In that same time frame, occupancy rates peaked in 2012 and are now on a downslide.

In the first six months of 2015, just 54.7 percent of hotel rooms were filled in Grand Forks, according to data provided by STR, a company that researches and tracks the hotel industry. That's down from a high of 69.8 percent during the same period three years ago.

Though the hotel market is cyclical, with more people staying in hotels during the summer months than in the winter months, those in the industry say the hotel market has remained down this summer, and they don't see it getting much better soon.

Trending downward

The hotel market as a whole is down across the state, said Dean Ihla, tourism development manager for the Department of Commerce.

Slipping occupancy in the eastern portion of the state can be attributed to a weakening Canadian dollar and possibly overbuilding, he said.

In western North Dakota, in places such as Minot and Dickinson, Ihla said the decrease is due to a combination of more permanent housing for oil field workers--they no longer have to stay in hotels for long periods of time--and a little bit of overgrowth.

"I think there's some overgrowth because of not knowing where this oil growth was going," Ihla said. "Now that the oil has slowed down, we're seeing that in hotels, too."

However, lower occupancy rates in places such as Minot likely stem from those cities returning to normal instead of an indication of a widespread problem, Ihla argued.

In 2011, Minot had an annual occupancy rate of 86.6 percent, but that rate was down to 65.4 percent as of last year, according to STR. Between 65 to 70 percent is considered a good rate, Ihla said.

Over the past five years, the number of hotels in Minot nearly doubled, growing from 17 to 32, according to STR.

Despite that, Wade Regier, director of sports and events for the Minot Convention and Visitors Bureau said Minot has a "perfect" number of rooms for the city.

Regier pointed to few vacancies on weekends when Minot hosts events such as the North Dakota State Fair or the state basketball tournament.

"When there's big events in town, we actually don't have enough hotels," Regier said.

Sara Otte Coleman, the director for the Tourism Division, said hotel owners are always concerned when new businesses enter the market, but she expects this to only be a short-term issue.

"It's natural that occupancy rates would fall with more hotels, but we think that will eventually correct itself," she said.

Bismarck also has seen a similar trend. In 2011, its occupancy rate was 78 percent. Last year, it fell to 70.1 percent. In the last five years, Bismarck has added 11 hotels, according to the Department of Commerce.

Fargo has remained steady since 2010, with its occupancy rate last year sitting at 67.5 percent.

Attracting guests

It's not just occupancy data that has slipped recently.

Revenue per available room, or RevPAR, is one of the top performance measures in the hotel industry. In the first six months of 2015, Grand Forks' RevPAR was $48.73, down 23 percent from its high in 2012. That means each room is making less money than it once did.

Troy Ausmus, general manager of Yellowstone Management, which owns three hotels in Grand Forks, said he's not sure how to combat the problem. His hotels have increased advertising, included more promotional deals and lowered rates all to draw in more tenants.

"There was a fixed number of customers coming down and now there's more options," Ausmus said. "I've seen other hotels drop their rates more than we have, but everybody's down. I've talked to a few different hotel groups and they're all saying the same thing."

Ausmus and Ihla both said one of the problems is that Grand Forks, and North Dakota as a whole, have only a limited number of people who come to visit. The state lacks a major metro area and doesn't have a large-scale attraction, such as Yellowstone National Park or a Disneyland to attract more visitors.Advertisement (1 of 1): 0:27According to the Department of Commerce, the occupancy rate for the entire state in the first six months of 2015 was 56 percent, which is a 9.3 percent decrease from that same months a year ago.

"I think it's more of a stabilization," Ilha said. "The numbers aren't alarming right now. We went through a period where you couldn't do a lot of promotion because there was just nowhere to stay.

"So, of course occupancy is going to change when you've added 10,000 rooms to your inventory. That's a lot of growth for a population of 725,000 and no large, major cities."

Canadian dollar

Without those large urban populations and attractions, cities such as Grand Forks have relied on Canadian travelers.

However, with the Canadian dollar continuing to struggle, fewer visitors from the north are coming down.

The Canadian dollar fell to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar since early 2009, according a MarketWatch report published earlier this month. A Canadian dollar was worth 76 cents as of Thursday, according to the Bank of Canada.

Meanwhile, border traffic has slumped. In the first six months of 2014, 158,254 personal vehicles were recorded at the Pembina, N.D., crossing, which decreased to 145,609 in the same period this year, according to federal data.

"We can't really do anything to bring more people to town in our market, so there becomes an internal competition to see if somebody can pull a bigger market share than the other hotels," Ausmus said.

Though several hotels have popped up recently, there are no new hotels on the horizon, according to the Grand Forks City Planning Department.

Julie Rygg, executive director for the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau, said despite the recent growth, it's still too early to say if there's too much inventory in town.

"We just want to help the hotels stay busy," she said.

Rygg said hotels are busy at different times of years, so it's hard to say how exactly the industry is doing.

But by most measures, including the Grand Forks' lodging tax collections, the industry is down. Collections between January and May were down 6.9 percent in the first five months of 2015 from a year ago.

"There's no question that everybody's down," Ausmus said of the city's hotel industry. "Now we have to figure out a way to bring it back up."

Burst of Growth in Hotels Extends Across the State - The Bismarck Tribune

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          Dalrymple Joins Bobcat Co. to Celebrate West Fargo Expansion    
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple joined Bobcat Company employees and local officials to break ground on an expansion project at Bobcat’s West Fargo headquarters. Bobcat Company will invest $9.5 million to nearly double the size of its headquarters.
 
“Bobcat is an excellent example of the world-class innovation that is driving growth throughout North Dakota,” Dalrymple said. “This expansion will further support Bobcat’s global position as a leading innovator in compact equipment. Bobcat is a great North Dakota success story, a major employer and a valued member of the state’s strong manufacturing sector.”
 
Bobcat and its parent company, Doosan, will nearly double the size of the West Fargo headquarters, from its current footprint of about 38,000 square feet to more than 71,000 square feet. Company officials said the expansion will accommodate growth, drive innovation and improve Bobcat’s overall operations. The expansion will support 240 Bobcat employees, bringing together staff currently working from various locations in the Fargo area. Construction is expected to be completed late next summer.
 
During the groundbreaking, Dalrymple also thanked Bobcat Company officials for partnering with the state to establish a $4.5 million endowed scholarship at North Dakota State University. Made possible through the state’s Higher Education Challenge Fund, Bobcat has agreed to donate $3 million for the student scholarship program, with the Challenge Fund providing a match of $1.5 million. Bobcat and NDSU established the scholarship endowment to support students who pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.  In 2013, the Legislature supported Gov. Dalrymple’s proposal to create the Education Challenge Fund, which all of the state’s colleges and universities can leverage to stimulate private-sector philanthropy for academic advancement.
 
Those joining Dalrymple and Goldsbury to break ground on Bobcat’s expansion project included U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern and Bobcat Company employees.
 
Bobcat Company employs more than 2,000 people at its West Fargo headquarters, its primary manufacturing plant in Gwinner, a support center in Wahpeton, an attachments production plant in Bismarck and its new Acceleration Center in Bismarck.
                                                           
In August 2014, Dalrymple joined Bobcat employees in Bismarck to celebrate the completion of the company’s $28 million Acceleration Center.  Located in Bismarck’s Northern Plains Commerce Centre, the Acceleration Center serves as a key engineering facility for Bobcat and Doosan.
 
One month before completing work on the Acceleration Center, Bobcat employees celebrated a major production milestone when the company’s one millionth loader rolled off an assembly line at its Gwinner manufacturing plant.

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          Area Communities Search for Answers to Solve Daycare Shortage   
By Grand Forks Herald
When Jennifer Krom returns to work later this month from maternity leave at GHY International, a Pembina customs brokerage, she'll be commuting 50 miles one-way from Grafton, N.D., at least for a while. 

She'd rather live closer to her job. But she cannot find a licensed child care service for her infant daughter.

"I can find housing in Pembina. I cannot find day care," she said. "So, the next closest community would be Drayton (N.D). I can find day care there, but there's little or no housing available."

Pembina, a town of 567 located just south of the Canadian border and across the Red River from Minnesota, is trying to change that.

The Pembina Growth Committee is leading an effort to raise $94,000 to establish a licensed community child care center that would serve 25 to 30 children, according to Corie Koropatnicki, committee member. The goal is to open by October.

Pembina is just one of many rural cities throughout North Dakota and Minnesota where the child care crunch is putting the squeeze on parents, businesses and leaders who hope to maintain community vitality.

Each community, regardless of which side of the Red River it lies, faces similar challenges in available day care openings and adequate workers.

In North Dakota, nearly every county fails to meet the ideal threshold for available day care. To fill the gap, exacerbated by several closings, communities are exploring creative solutions through partnerships. Parents in Minnesota also struggle to find openings, particularly those aligning with family schedules, and the state's strict requirements for day care teachers make it difficult for providers to hire additional staff to fill the void.

Working parents
A look at parents' working trends and needs indicate a deficiency in available day care, especially in rural areas. Throughout North Dakota, the crisis represents an issue facing many communities.

"North Dakota is the second leading state for two-parent working families—and particularly with the need for workforce, quality day care services are essential to building strong communities and strong businesses," said Dawn Keeley, executive director of the Red River Regional Council, based in Grafton.

The regional council serves Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh counties.

"The child care crisis is just that—it's absolutely a crisis for small communities," said Allison Johnson, director of the Mayville State University Child Development Programs, based in Mayville, N.D.

Only two of North Dakota's 53 counties—Cass and Ramsey—currently meet or exceed the 50 percent "healthy child care capacity" threshold used by the North Dakota Department of Human Services Child and Family Services Division, said Jennifer Barry, early childhood services administrator.

"Statewide, we're in the 30 percent range," she said. "Even in those two counties, we see some parents who are struggling to find services."

Officials use 50 percent as the benchmark, based on data that show the remaining 50 percent of children of working parents have access to child care services from relatives or through small home-based child care facilities.

In Pembina County overall, licensed care capacity meets just 30.6 percent of the need, according the latest snapshot, in March 2015, by Child Care Aware North Dakota.

The agency estimates Pembina County would need another 165 child care slots to meet the 50 percent level.

It isn't just licensed child care services that are lacking. Many communities have seen the number home-based businesses dwindle in recent years.

In Lakota, N.D., for instance, a new community-operated child care center opened last month after three private home-based day cares closed within the previous year.

"One trend I've noticed is that our providers tend to leave the field and find new jobs quicker than before," Barry said. "We have fewer of our career providers. It's quite frequently because they have small children, and when the children get to school age, the providers find other jobs."

Filling gaps
In Minnesota's northwestern counties, parents also are searching for day care providers.

Parents seeking infant and toddler care or full-time care are the two highest groups of referrals seen by child care resource and referral agencies, according to a 2014 report from Child Care Aware.

The trend is apparent in northwest Minnesota, where Maureen Hams, community services director for Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, often receives calls from parents looking for infant and toddler care.

That type of care and early morning, evening and part-time care are the four gaps Hams sees as affecting the region.

To keep up with demand, Hams said establishing new day cares is one possible solution, and her office has talked at length about how to recruit individuals to the child care sector.

"I think there's people that might be interested but aren't sure what to do, so probably offering the technical assistance to someone who's interested is probably the most helpful thing we can do," Hams said.

The preferred route for child care providers in the region is establishing a home-based service, also known as family child care.

Family child care providers can be licensed to take up to 14 children under state law. The state sets staff-to-child ratios and caps the number of children allowed based on ages.

That means a provider licensed for the care of 10 children cannot have 10 infants, but rather a mix of ages.

Across Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties, there are 274 active licensed family child care providers and 14 child care centers as of July 2015, according to a Herald analysis of Department of Human Services license data.

The data also reflect closures, with another 18 providers noted as such before their licenses expired in 2015 or 2016. Ten of the closures happened in Polk County with remaining ones spread among Kittson, Marshall and Roseau counties.

State assistance
In North Dakota, Pembina officials are awaiting word this month whether it will receive a $68,000 Child Care grant from the state's Department of Commerce. The North Dakota Legislature earlier this year appropriated $2.25 million to the agency to help meet the demand for child care services throughout the state.

The Pembina County Job Development Authority recently approved a $12,875 matching contribution for the project. The city also has approved a commitment of $12,160, according to Keeley, who also serves on the Pembina and Nelson county job development authorities. The state grant requires a 25-percent local match.

According to the plan, the city would purchase a 28-by-56-foot modular home in an underdeveloped park in southwest Pembina. Then, it would lease the property to a child care provider, who would run it as a private business.

The Growth Committee, which is searching for a licensed operator, is confident it will be in operation by October. If the venture is successful, the group will look to expand in the next few years.

"A community as small as Pembina, it's amazing how quickly we come together when there's someone or something in need, from fundraisers for someone who has been sick and hasn't been able to work to any number of things," Koropatnicki said.

Pembina priority
The Pembina project was launched after a public meeting last fall indicated the community's top priority was a licensed child care center. Affordable housing finished second.

The Growth Committee then conducted a survey to understand the needs and the urgency, according to Koropatnicki.

The two-week survey this spring showed the Pembina community had 40 children ages infant to 5 years old and 12 from ages 6 through 12. Of the 50 respondents, 35 indicated they would consider using a local day care center if one were available.

Several people answering the Pembina community survey said they knew people working in Pembina who would move to the city if they could find day care services, according to Koropatnicki.

Krom, the new mother who commutes from Grafton, is among them. But it appears she won't be moving to Pembina any time soon.

She recently found a residence in Drayton, which will be available in September. She had been on a waiting list since February.

"I would have loved to move to Pembina, and be close to work," she said, "but at least Drayton is closer."

"There's so many different things you go through when you're pregnant, so many other things on your mind," Krom said. "Day care is one of the last things you want to worry about. You just want to make sure that's taken care of, so that when the baby's here, you just want to focus on the baby, instead of, 'Oh, I wonder if I'm going to get to go back to work?' "

Average cost of child care

Numbers from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014

Minnesota
$13,762 - Infant in child care center
$10, 642 - 4-year-old in child care center
$7,547 - Infant in family child care program
$6,865 - 4 year old in family child care program

North Dakota
$6,822 - Infant (0-17 months old) in home-based programs
$6,653 - Ages 18 to 35 months old in home-based programs
$6,534 - Ages 3 to 5 years old in home-based programs
$8,211 - Infant (0-17 months old) in child care center and group facilities
$7,915 - Ages 18 to 35 months old in child care center
$7,507 - Ages 3-5 years old in child care center

Potential demand for children under age 6 (2014)

Minnesota - 304,951
North Dakota - 38,701

Providers

Minnesota
Child care centers statewide - 1,036

Family care programs statewide - 10,276

Total spaces/slots - 352,792

27 percent in centers
73 percent in family care centers (home)

North Dakota
Child care centers statewide - 1,348

Family care programs statewide - 361

Total spaces/slots - 28,873

55 percent in centers
45 percent in family or family group centers (home)

Referrals received by resource agencies

Minnesota
For infant/toddler care (ages 0-23 months) - 41 percent
For preschool-age care (ages 2-5) - 36 percent
For school-age care - 23 percent

North Dakota
For infant/toddler care (ages 0-23 mos) - 49 percent
For preschool-age care (ages 2-5) - 39 percent.
For school-age care - 12 percent

Workforce

Minnesota
Child care workers (in centers) - 9,560

Average annual income of child care workers - $21,710

North Dakota
Child care workers (in centers) - 3,316

Average annual income of child care workers (2012 survey) - $19,448

Area Communities Search for Answers to Solve Daycare Shortage - Grand Forks Herald

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          The Good Life: As Job Numbers Grow, Group Touts N.D. as the Place to Be   
By Grand Forks Herald
There are about 2,500 open jobs in Grand Forks County alone. The number statewide is approximately 25,000.

According to representatives from the state's Find the Good Life in North Dakota campaign, it won't get much better anytime soon, either. The group says there will be another 75,000 jobs coming online in North Dakota over the next five years.

That's a lot of job openings for a state this size, and, they say, it's why the Find the Good Life campaign is so important for North Dakota's economy.

"The bottom line is this: What we're trying to do with this campaign is we want to get North Dakota into people's considerations," said Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota's director of tourism. "We want to be one of the top three states people are considering moving to."

Otte Coleman and North Dakota Director of Workforce Development Wayde Sick recently visited with the editorial board of the Grand Forks Herald, spending nearly an hour talking about North Dakota's worker shortage and how it likely will be compounded in the coming years. They were accompanied by Eric Trueblood, a member of the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation.

Their goal is to get the word out that North Dakota not only has thousands of good jobs available, but also that the state needs to work harder to persuade people to live here. That means recruiting from other states, working to lure veterans to the region and persuading communities to dedicate themselves to retaining high school and college graduates, Otte Coleman said.

The Find the Good Life in North Dakota campaign has been working on that since May 2014, using all sorts of methods—from social media campaigns to national magazine stories—to spread the message. Private fundraising has contributed more than $1 million to the program.

Following are edited and abbreviated answers by Sick and Otte Coleman to a series of questions posed by members of the Herald editorial board:

Q. You say the statewide number of job openings is about 25,000. What is the number for Grand Forks County and how does that compare with other North Dakota counties?

Otte Coleman: The statistics we have for Grand Forks County is 2,500 jobs posted with Job Service. The statistics that we have, for example, for Cass County is 6,600 open jobs. ... This is a long-term focus for us. The need for jobs isn't going to go away.

That begs the question, is the goal to get that number to go down? It's a mixed answer. Yes and no, because if we continue to grow the economy and new businesses come in, they will continue to expand and we will continue to see that number growing.

It might be a zero sum game. You might be filling 10,000 of those jobs, but 10,000 more have come online because we were able to show we have the workforce to sustain growth.

Q. Is the number of jobs growing? And is that how you measure success?

Otte Coleman: Yes, and that's a really good question. ... The bottom line is this: What we're trying to do for the campaign is we want to get North Dakota into people's considerations. We want to be one of the top three states people are considering moving to.

Does that mean they will necessarily go and register their resume online with Job Service North Dakota? Probably not. Especially with the younger workforce. They are searching in different ways and finding information in different ways.

So we are doing social media and doing digital marketing campaigns and tactics to reach people who won't necessarily show up on the metrics every month. But we still wanted to do something consistent, knowing that there really isn't a perfect mechanism.

Two things that we haven't found: We haven't found the "easy button" in marketing to get everybody to come, and we haven't orchestrated a checkpoint where everybody has to check in when they cross the border with their moving vans.

When we look at what markets we have targeted, we looked at 15 different statistics and overlaid them to determine what states we should focus these efforts in, ranging from census data, to job service data, to even metrics that I track on the tourism side for inquiries and interest.

We haven't found the magic number. We look at these and ask, how do we determine success? It's just not an easy answer.

Q. What is an example of your research?

Otte Coleman: We did do some research last winter where we looked at 350 new residents who moved into the state in the past five years and tried to determine what it was that made them decide to move. That helped us define tactics and mediums, but also messaging.

Online is No. 1, but people don't necessarily say it was the Find The Good Life in North Dakota website that made them start thinking about it. It was probably five or six websites, and two or three social media efforts and a couple of articles that they read. It was a combination of things.

Q. With that sample group, what did you find was the overriding reason people decided to move to North Dakota?

Otte Coleman: Most of them had a connection to the state in some way. Maybe they went to school here or even visited here. A lot of them did come just for the job. ... One concern in the research was that a good majority of them, when they took the job, they didn't plan on staying. That means all of our communities have a job ahead of them to engage those people, and include them and keep them, because we really want to retain those new employees. Some of that, we hope, has already changed. We hope to do a follow-up study.

Q. How will you judge your work to be successful?

Otte Coleman: I don't know that I have a perfect answer for that. I think we will determine the metrics and continue to look at the tactics and keep measuring each of those individually. For instance, we just did a social media campaign that garnered 11 or 12 million impressions with 100,000 click-throughs. You measure pieces like that so we know we made a contact point.

We will start looking at the folks who have moved in, through the census data, but that takes time.

We'll look at campaign metrics to define our next step. Long-term, we look at census data and Job Service data and all of those things to see if we're seeing growth in some areas we have targeted.

We also are working closely with other folks who are trying to tackle this problem, like development corporations. For instance, we just met with the Grand Forks EDC.

Fargo and Bismarck are doing similar programs. For example, in Bismarck, they did a digital ad campaign that focused directly on the five areas where they know they have the most jobs. Nurses, CDLs, techs, engineers and diesel mechanics. We are overlaying their results with ours to see which was more effective, and they are doing the same.

But that was a 16-week campaign. It takes six to 18 months to make a decision to move and then you have that moving time in there. So, I don't have a perfect answer about that, and we have been honest about that up front.

We don't know the perfect way to measure success with this, but we have a lot of things we're measuring.

Q. Is there realistic hope for a county that has 6,000 open jobs? Or 2,500 open jobs? Can you really make a dent in this?

Otte Coleman: We think we can. It comes from a combination of things, such as improving the awareness of the state, educating people about the life they can have here in North Dakota.

But the other thing we have been hearing a lot about with our partners is how they are working with alumni groups and even current students on opportunities. ... Ten years ago, a lot of people probably didn't think about staying in North Dakota, and that perception is changing as well.

Sick: A lot of local efforts have been (about) retaining high school and college graduates. That's definitely something a local community can probably do better because they do have those closer ties.

I think we are seeing our graduates considering North Dakota and not leaving. I look at my high school graduation class and at least half of us are not in the state.

As we study those graduation numbers and compare it with wage data down the road, that number will climb because of the local efforts.

I think parents are having those conversations with kids, saying that you don't need to leave. There are opportunities in the state, and you don't need to look elsewhere anymore.

Q. Do you expect this ongoing recruiting effort to get more difficult as time goes on, and as other states' economies improve?

Sick: That has been part of the conversation since the beginning, because we know other states' economies are going to improve eventually. It's another challenge.

Otte Coleman: You look at our top states where people have engaged—Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Michigan and California—where the most folks have clicked on our website, or ads, or gotten online social media-wise. Especially, Minnesota's economy is rebounding fast, and they have way more open jobs than we do. So, absolutely, that is a concern.

We hope a consistent and sustainable effort will be in place for a long time. It's more about creating a message. We don't want to be a quick fix anymore.

Q. Are there other specific groups you are looking to target?

Sick: The focus of Find the Good Life, for a long time, has been recruiting veterans. A lot of service members are either retiring or transitioning out of the military. We have done marketing to service members, and we have attended some hiring events, and plan to attend more this fall and winter.

The effort going forward is going to "Hire Our Hero" events. What we hear from individuals who organize these events is that when somebody transitions out of the military, a third of them stay where they are at, a third go home and a third go where the opportunities are. That is obviously our target—where the opportunities are.

North Dakota has a lot of opportunities and wide-open spaces. These individuals are used to moving around and used to working in not the most ideal work situations. So, it's a great target. That's the right thing to do, to work with service members and help them transition into civilian life.

We also have done some efforts with the University of Minnesota. We think that's a good target as well—college students in the region.

Otte Coleman: We stopped by the UND Alumni Association and NDSU. We haven't gotten that off the ground yet, but we think that's a natural connection point as well. We have done some individual alumni efforts, such as working with UND Center for Rural Health.

Sick: Alumni is a natural next step. Our research shows that people who have moved to North Dakota in the past five years had some kind of connection, where they grew up in North Dakota or went to college in North Dakota. There was some connection.

So alumni is a pretty good fit for us.

Q. Has the oil-drilling slowdown changed anything in your approach?

Otte Coleman: It has a little bit. I think people in this area understand it better and realize this isn't really a bust and understand the framework involved. But the national media, not necessarily.

So, we have focused the last three or four months on content development. We are trying to get good stories told. Some of that is working with bloggers and writers and talking about the people who have moved to North Dakota.

We are doing more video development, and we are working with 15 different bloggers to get those stories in place. We have other public relations efforts in place right now with a couple of new contract relationships with firms that can help us get those stories out there.

For example, there is a 25-page feature in the July edition of Delta Sky.

Q: How important is the role that tourism plays in this?

Otte Coleman: I think that's why we have airport signage in place in Bismarck and Williston, and as airport signage becomes available, I think we will add more. If you can connect to people who are visiting here and plant that seed, it makes sense.

All of our visitors guides are distributed to crew camps where we know we have transient workers.

The bottom line is people visit first. Tourism marketing helps everything. Part of the reason we have this problem (with open jobs) is we have underfunded marketing in the state for years, because we are conservative and haven't spent a lot of money in that area. So, we don't have a lot of awareness.

But interestingly, when you look at the metrics, they all mirror where we have spent most of our tourism dollars. (People in those places) have more awareness of us because we have been showing them what we have. It's a huge correlation.

We are one of two states that a research firm chose to study to find out the residual effect of tourism marketing on all economic development. The numbers were amazing. People's likelihood to retire here, to move here, to start a business here was double if they had seen the tourism ads. That's not even if they had visited.

The Good Life: As Job Numbers Grow, Group Touts N.D. as the Place to Be - Grand Forks Herald

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          Land Board Awards $11.5 Million in Latest Round of Energy Impact Grant Funding    
By ND Governor's Office
The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today awarded $11.5 million in energy impact grants to local law enforcement agencies, non-profit service organizations and emergency medical services in North Dakota’s oil and gas region.  The Land Board awarded nearly $8 million to support the region’s law enforcement agencies and service organizations, and another $3.7 million for the region’s emergency medical services.
 
“These state funds will further support the region’s local law enforcement agencies, emergency medical responders as well as organizations that provide family support services,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, chairman of the five-member state Land Board. “The Energy Impact Grant Program has been very helpful in addressing a wide range of needs associated with the region’s dynamic growth.”
 
Other Land Board members are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
 
"The goal of these law enforcement grants is to put local law enforcement officers out on the streets and highways, properly trained, adequately equipped and affordably housed,” Stenehjem said.  “In addition, this year’s grants focus on prosecution by providing additional assistance to county state’s attorneys.”
 
Since 2011, the state has appropriated more than a half-billion dollars in Energy Impact Grant funds alone, a small portion of the state’s overall commitment to helping the oil and gas region’s counties, cities, schools and other political subdivisions address the challenges of rapid growth.
 
The nearly $8 million in state grants awarded today to the region’s law enforcement agencies and service organizations include:
  • $904,500 to the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office for new police vehicles, law enforcement training, body cameras and other equipment and housing allowances for deputies, dispatch employees and corrections staff.
  • $596,935 to the Williston Police Department for six police vehicles, other equipment and salary support for three new officers.
  • $77,162 for the Williston Family Crisis Shelter to hire a services advocate and to purchase office equipment.
  • $443,057 to the Watford City Police Department for six new patrol vehicles, duty gear and other equipment, law enforcement training and housing allowances for 20 officers and two support staff.
  • $22,500 to Dickinson’s Domestic Violence and Rape Crises Center toward staff salary and operating costs.
  • $273,000 for the Killdeer Police Department to hire two additional patrol officers; to purchase two vehicles; to purchase new bulletproof vests and other equipment; and to provide officers with housing allowances.
  • $257,000 for the Tioga Police Department to purchase equipment, support officer salaries and housing allowances for three officers and one member of the department’s support staff.
  • $210,514 for the Ward County State’s Attorney Office to support the hiring of an assistance state’s attorney, victim-witness coordinator two additional support staff.
 
The Land Board today awarded 32 grants totaling about $3.7 million in support of the region’s emergency medical services. The grants approved include:
  • $485,000 to the New Town Ambulance Service for the purchase of a new ambulance and staff pay assistance.
  • $369,324 to the city of Williston for a quick-response vehicle, training, emergency equipment and staffing assistance.
  • $272,000 to the city of Tioga for a new EMS building and emergency medical equipment.
  • $332,000 to the Killdeer Area Ambulance District for the purchase of a new building and staffing assistance.
  • $200,000 to the Stanley Rural Ambulance Service District for a building renovation and expansion.
  • $100,000 to the United Rural Ambulance Service in Ward County for the construction of a new EMS building.
  • $92,750 for the Westhope Ambulance Service to complete the construction of a new building and to support staff pay.
  • $50,000 for the Ray Ambulance Service to purchase emergency medical equipment and supplies.
  • $142,200 for the Renville County Rural Ambulance Service to support staffing of ambulance services in the Mohall and Glenburn areas.
  • $60,000 for a new ambulance and emergency medical staffing assistance in Ward County.
 
For a complete list of grants approved by the Land Board today go to www.nd.gov/energyimpact.

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          Land Board Awards $15 Million to K-12 Schools, $1.3 Million to Airports in Western North Dakota   
By ND Governor's Office
The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today awarded $15 million in Energy Impact Grant funds to K-12 schools and another $1.3 million to airports in western North Dakota’s oil and gas region.
 
On Wednesday, the Land Board awarded $11.5 million in grants to the region’s local law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services and non-profit service organizations.  Since 2011, the state has appropriated more than a half-billion dollars in Energy Impact Grant funds alone, a small portion of the state’s overall commitment to helping the oil and gas region’s counties, cities, schools and other political subdivisions address the challenges of rapid growth.
 
“Working together, we are making great progress in addressing the impacts associated with a growing economy and population,” said Gov.  Jack Dalrymple, chairman of the Land Board. “These grants are part of a much larger, ongoing commitment to working with our local leaders in western North Dakota so that we continue to build on our advancements.”
 
Other Land Board members are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
 
The Land Board approved $15 million in state grants for 62 school districts The Land Board will award an additional $15 million in grants to the region’s K-12 schools next year.
 
All of the state funds awarded today will be used for school renovations and other capital improvement projects. The grants awarded today to K-12 schools include:
  • $2.65 million - Williston Public School District #1
  • $1.29 million - Dickinson Public School District #1
  • $830,999 - Killdeer Public School District                                      
  • $1.39 million - McKenzie Co. Public School District #1
  • $950,622 - New Town Public School District
  • $741,165 - Stanley Public School District #2
  • $655.655 - Bottineau Public School District #1
  • $403,754 - Mohall, Lansford, Sherwood Public School District
  • $415,429 - Tioga Public School District #15                                              
  • $581,979 - Beach Public School District #3
  • $276,734 - Bowman Public School District 
The Land Board today also awarded $1.3 million in Energy Impact Grant funds to support capital improvement projects at six airports. Today’s grant awards for airport improvements are:
  • Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport - $642,486 for apron improvements, security upgrades and for the development of a master plan and wildlife hazard assessments.
  • Minot International Airport - $165,878 for phase-two construction of a terminal access road and develop of a master plan.
  • Garrison Municipal Airport - $178,678 for construction of fueling apron and runway rehabilitation.
  • Kenmare Municipal Airport - $157,331for runway light improvements.
  • Washburn Municipal Airport - $64,871 for apron and taxiway expansions.
  • Westhope Municipal Airport - $96,793 for an apron expansion project and development of a master plan. 
For a complete list of grants approved today by the Land Board go to: www.nd.gov/energyimpact.

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          Dalrymple Presents $5.6 Million for UAS Park as Construction Start Looms   
By Grand Forks Herald
With a memo line reading "Grand Sky UAS Park," Gov. Jack Dalrymple presented a check Monday for $5.6 million to Grand Forks County.

The state funds will allow construction crews to get in the ground as early as next week to begin building the estimated $25 million unmanned aircraft systems business park, which is touted as the first of its kind in the nation.     

"I think all of us in this room together are building a new industry in North Dakota," Dalrymple said. "It's not very often that you can stand there and say we're building a new industry. Maybe a new company or a nonprofit, but very seldom can we say we are creating an entirely new industry for our state and for our nation."

Of the amount allocated through the state Department of Commerce, $2.5 million depended on the park securing a tenant, which came in the form of a commitment from industry giant Northrop Grumman. The remaining $3.1 million was designated by the state Legislature for infrastructure improvements.

Grand Sky aims to provide space to tenants in various areas of the unmanned aircraft industry, from manufacturers to data analysts to flight trainers. The development consists of 217 acres of land adjacent to Grand Forks Air Force Base, which in turn will be developed to offer 1.2 million square feet of usable space for tenants.

"The state of North Dakota has made a huge investment in Grand Sky," said Tom Swoyer Jr., president of Grand Sky Development Co., the business managing the park's development.

Funding development
The park site, located just southwest the base, is rented from the U.S. Air Force by the county after officials signed a lease earlier this year.

The county in turn leases the land to Grand Sky Development Co.

Swoyer said most of the state money will be used for installing or upgrading infrastructure needed before the park's offices, hangars, data storage facilities and other buildings can be constructed.

The first project will be posting a fence around the site, which will establish a secure perimeter.

Normally, entities such as cities can recoup infrastructure installation costs through special assessments placed on the land, which are then passed on to property owners.

In this case, the land is owned by the federal government and is not taxable, which means Grand Sky can't use this method and makes state funding even more vital.

The state's commitment also helps attract tenants, according to Swoyer.

"Without this kind of money, we can't leverage the private investment that's coming," he said. "Without the state investment, it's very difficult to ... get the private companies to this kind of a project."

Continued growth
The funding to get construction underway at Grand Sky is another milestone for the UAS industry in the state.

North Dakota is one of six states awarded a UAS test site by the Federal Aviation Administration in December 2013.

The test site, known as the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and also headquartered in Grand Forks County, is tasked with researching the integration of unmanned aircraft into commercial airspace.

In total, Dalrymple said the state has spent more than $30 million on unmanned aircraft system ventures, including Grand Sky, the test site and other research and development initiatives around the state, including at UND.

Monday's check likely won't be the last cut by the state for Grand Sky.

"I'm happy to say to this is by no means the end of it," Dalrymple said of the state funding. "There is contingency funding established by our legislature—$4.4 million in additional funding—as Grand Sky continues to develop and land more tenants."

In total, about $12.5 million is included in the state's 2015-2017 budget for UAS initiatives.

Dalrymple Presents $5.6 Million for UAS Park as Construction Start Looms - Grand Forks Herald
 

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          North Dakota Ranks No. 1 in 2014 GDP Growth   
By ND Governor's Office
North Dakota’s economic growth outpaced all other states last year, according to information released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Factors driving the state’s top ranking include continued growth in economic production, new jobs, rising wages and increasing export sales. North Dakota has led the nation in economic growth for four of the past five years.
 
North Dakota’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of total economic production, increased 6.3 percent in 2014 to top economic growth among all states. Over the past decade, North Dakota’s economy has averaged an annual growth rate of 6.5 percent compared to the national average of 1.4 percent. Since 2010, the state has averaged an 8.7 percent growth rate in GDP.
 
“This top ranking proves once again that our continued economic growth stems from nearly every business sector and that no single industry tells the whole story of North Dakota’s progress,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. “We have worked hard to diversify our economy and expand our targeted industries, and those strategies are producing real results with increased economic production, job growth and rising wages.”
 
According to the BEA, North Dakota’s economic growth is reflected in many areas of commerce, including wholesale trade, retail trade, construction, transportation, manufacturing, energy, and finance and insurance. The BEA report can be viewed at www.bea.gov.
 
Other statistics that detail the state’s economic progress include:
 
  • North Dakota’s per capita personal income in 2014 was $54,951, an increase of $25,109 since 2004 when the per capita personal income was $29,842. This brings North Dakota to 119 percent of the national average, according to the BEA.
  • North Dakota had $5.3 billion worth of exports in 2014, an increase of $4.3 billion since 2004 when the total value of exports was $1 billion.
  • Since 2004, North Dakota has created 122,800 new jobs, an increase of 36.6 percent.
  • North Dakota is ranked first in growth in the number, employment and revenues of women-owned firms since 1997.  


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          GST will boost economic growth: Amit Shah   
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will bolster India’s economy and help it compete with top countries in the world, BJP national president Amit Shah, who is on a two-day visit to Goa, said here on Satu...
          Housing Unit Growth In North Dakota Unsurpassed In Nation   
By CBS Minnesota
North Dakota built new housing at a faster clip than any other state from 2010 through last summer, as people flooded the state in search of work in the booming oil patch.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual estimate shows North Dakota’s housing growth rate far outpaced any other state’s in the year leading up to last July 1, continuing a longer trend dating back to the last 10-year Census in 2010.

“We’ve seen families move into North Dakota from around the country, and the majority are coming because of the influx with the oil boom,” said Kim Schneider, executive officer with the North Dakota Association of Builders.

The state’s 3 percent growth in housing units from mid-2013 through mid-2014 was well ahead of Utah’s 1.4 percent, which ranked second, according to the new report. From 2010 through mid-2014, North Dakota’s housing units grew by 10.4 percent, far exceeding second-place Texas’ 4.5 percent.

Among U.S. counties with at least 5,000 housing units, Williams County in the heart of the North Dakota oil patch had the fastest growth rate from mid-2013 through mid-2014, at 11.6 percent. Four other western counties also ranked in the top 12 nationally, including Stark, Morton, Ward and Burleigh counties.

Cass and Grand Forks counties in the east also were in the top 20, with growth rates above 3 percent, showing that not all of North Dakota’s growth happened in the west.

The state overall has a healthy economy, and some families in the west also have moved east to escape the headaches associated with the oil boom, such as increased traffic and crime, according to Schneider.

“The need for housing around the oil boom area also gave a lot of families the opportunity to sell their homes or property at a price much higher than in a normal market,” which created demand for housing in other parts of the state as the sellers moved, she said.

Between 2010 and 2014, Williams County was No. 1 in the nation with a 56.8 percent growth rate in housing units and Stark County was second with a 28 percent rate. Ward and Morton counties were in the Top 10, with growth rates above 14 percent, and Burleigh and Cass counties were in the Top 20, with rates above 10 percent.

David Nordenstrom is one builder who is taking advantage of the demand for housing in Williams County. When the business of building vacation and retirement homes in Minnesota waned with the Great Recession of 2007-09, the owner of Nordenstrom Custom Homes Inc. in Mora, Minnesota, near the Twin Cities, opened a satellite office in Williston in 2010 and even built a second home there for himself.

“We came out here and were pleasantly surprised,” he said.

Figures from Williston’s Building Department show that the annual value of building permits issued in the city increased eleven-fold between 2009 and 2014, from about $45 million to $500 million.

Housing Unit Growth In North Dakota Unsurpassed In Nation - CBS Minnesota 

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          Report: North Dakota Adding Housing Faster than any State, Continuing Trend Linked to Oil Boom   
By StarTribune
North Dakota built new housing at a faster clip than any other state from 2010 through last summer, as people flooded the state in search of work in the booming oil patch.

The U.S. Census Bureau's latest annual estimate shows North Dakota's housing growth rate far outpaced any other state's in the year leading up to last July 1, continuing a longer trend dating back to the last 10-year Census in 2010.

"We've seen families move into North Dakota from around the country, and the majority are coming because of the influx with the oil boom," said Kim Schneider, executive officer with the North Dakota Association of Builders.

The state's 3 percent growth in housing units from mid-2013 through mid-2014 was well ahead of Utah's 1.4 percent, which ranked second, according to the new report. From 2010 through mid-2014, North Dakota's housing units grew by 10.4 percent, far exceeding second-place Texas' 4.5 percent.

Among U.S. counties with at least 5,000 housing units, Williams County in the heart of the North Dakota oil patch had the fastest growth rate from mid-2013 through mid-2014, at 11.6 percent. Four other western counties also ranked in the top 12 nationally, including Stark, Morton, Ward and Burleigh counties.

Cass and Grand Forks counties in the east also were in the top 20, with growth rates above 3 percent, showing that not all of North Dakota's growth happened in the west.

The state overall has a healthy economy, and some families in the west also have moved east to escape the headaches associated with the oil boom, such as increased traffic and crime, according to Schneider.

"The need for housing around the oil boom area also gave a lot of families the opportunity to sell their homes or property at a price much higher than in a normal market," which created demand for housing in other parts of the state as the sellers moved, she said.

Between 2010 and 2014, Williams County was No. 1 in the nation with a 56.8 percent growth rate in housing units and Stark County was second with a 28 percent rate. Ward and Morton counties were in the Top 10, with growth rates above 14 percent, and Burleigh and Cass counties were in the Top 20, with rates above 10 percent.

David Nordenstrom is one builder who is taking advantage of the demand for housing in Williams County. When the business of building vacation and retirement homes in Minnesota waned with the Great Recession of 2007-09, the owner of Nordenstrom Custom Homes Inc. in Mora, Minnesota, near the Twin Cities, opened a satellite office in Williston in 2010 and even built a second home there for himself.

"We came out here and were pleasantly surprised," he said.

Figures from Williston's Building Department show that the annual value of building permits issued in the city increased eleven-fold between 2009 and 2014, from about $45 million to $500 million.

Previously reported by: North Dakota Adding Housing Faster than any State, Continuing Trend Linked to Oil Boom - StarTribune

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          Land Board Awards $19 Million in Latest Grant Round to Support Airports in Western North Dakota    
By ND Governor's Office
The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) awarded $19.3 million in Energy Impact Grant funds to support airport improvement projects in western North Dakota.  
 
Since 2011, the Legislature has appropriated $515 million in Energy Impact Grant funds, which make up a small portion of the state’s total commitment to helping western North Dakota’s oil and gas counties address the impacts of rapid growth.
 
“By working together we are making great progress in western North Dakota, but there is still a lot of work ahead,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “These grants are part of our ongoing commitment to working with local leaders so that we build on our progress.”
 
Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member Land Board. Other members of the board are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
 
The Energy Impact grants approved by the Land Board today are:
  • Williston’s Sloulin Airport - $19 million for land acquisition, terminal design and other costs associated with the city’s airport relocation project.
  • Dunn County Airport Authority - $222,465 for design and construction of a jet fuel facility.
  • New Town Airport Authority - $74,422 for the design of a fuel facility and runway reconstruction.
  • Westhope Municipal Airport - $36,483 for an apron expansion and parking lot expansion. 
To date, the Land Board has awarded nearly $240 million in state Energy Impact Grants during the current biennium, and will award another $140 million in grants during the 2015-2017 biennium. The grants support a wide range of needs in western North Dakota, including enhancements for law enforcement agencies; emergency medical services; fire departments, critical-access hospitals and growing schools. 

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          Air Force’s Economic Impact Rebounds From Past Lows but Down From Peak   
By Grand Forks Herald
Grand Forks Air Force Base had a $252 million economic impact on the region in 2014, an increase of nearly 24 percent over the previous year's $203.7 million.

The base's annual economic impact analysis, released this week, shows that the impact has increased by 33 percent since the 10-year low point of $189 million in 2011, the year the first Global Hawk high-altitude drone arrived in Grand Forks.

In 2010, the last KC-135 air refueling tanker left Grand Forks as the base moved from a refueling mission to unmanned aerial systems under the 69th Reconnaissance Group of the 319th Air Base Wing.

"That's great news. A $250 million impact is huge," said Bruce Gjovig, director of the Center for Innovation at UND. "The Global Hawk mission has certainly been the catalyst for growth."

The report for Fiscal 2014, which ended Sept. 30, shows the base had 1,586 active duty airmen. While that's slightly fewer than the 1,615 on the same date in 2013, it's nearly 400 more than in 2011.

The total number of personnel, including airmen, family members and civilians at the base totaled 3,984, compared with 4,116 in 2013 and 3,741 in 2011.

The report also estimated annual dollar value of jobs created by the base at $35.9 million, an increase of $2.1 million from 2013 and a rise of $6 million since 2011.

The air base's economic impact is the third largest in the Grand Forks region, trailing only UND and the agricultural industry, according to Barry Wilfahrt, president and CEO of the Grand Forks and East Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce.

"Grand Forks Air Force Base is providing a lot of good quality jobs," he said. "Obviously it's a vital part of not just Grand Forks' economy, but the whole state of North Dakota's economy."

In 2013, the air base was the 12th largest employer in Grand Forks County, according to Job Service North Dakota.

Despite growth over the past year, the base still lags nearly 42 percent behind the mark of 2008, when 2,189 active duty airmen were stationed in Grand Forks and the local economic impact totaled $433.9 million.

The 319th Air Base Wing at Grand Forks recently received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for 2014, while several units within the 319th also received awards for outstanding performance last year, according to the report.

"We should be proud of our base, and we are proud of the base. It's a major, major part of our community," said Tom Ford, coordinator of the Grand Forks Base Realignment Impact Committee. "It shows that we really have one of the hidden jewels in the Air Force in Grand Forks."

Air Force’s Economic Impact Rebounds From Past Lows but Down From Peak - Grand Forks Herald

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          Dakota Prairie Refinery Begins Operations in Western ND   
By The Bakken Magazine
The Dickinson, North Dakota-based Dakota Prairie refinery has begun operations, MDU Resources Group Inc. and Calumet Specialty Products Partners L.P., the joint-partner on the refinery, announced Monday. The Dakota Prairie refinery is the first greenfield fuels refinery build in the U.S. in nearly 40 years.

The refinery can process 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Bakken crude, resulting in a production slate which includes up to 7,000 bpd that can be sold from the plant to regional customers.

“With more than two-thirds of North Dakota’s diesel fuel currently imported into the state, the Dakota Prairie refinery is well positioned to meet strong regional demand with additional, locally produced supplies of diesel fuel,” said David Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources. “Over time, we expect that this refinery has the potential to be an important contributor to the economic growth of the local and state economy.”

The Dakota Prairie refinery will also produce up to 6,500 bpd of naphtha, which is used as a diluent to transport heavy oil by pipeline or as a feedstock in gasoline production; up to 6,000 bpd of atmospheric tower bottoms, which can be used as a feedstock for lubricating oils; and other refined products, the company said.

“We are thankful for the support of local and state officials and agencies, and for the economic development climate that they have created in North Dakota,” said Goodin. “Together with our committed partner, Calumet, we are proud to have built the first refinery in this country since 1979.”

Construction of the facility began on March 26, 2013, on a 318-acre site that is located roughly four miles west of Dickinson. The original start date for diesel production was slated for the end of 2014. The delay was partially due to late revisions made to electrical systems. At its peak construction, the site employed more than 800 workers, and since becoming operational, employs 80. MDU estimates the total cost of the plant to be approximately $425 million to $435 million.

MDU is currently considering a second diesel refinery near Minot, North Dakota. “In the future, we expect there will be opportunities to improve financial performance of the refinery through debottlenecking and other strategies. We also will benefit from experience gained with this project to help develop future projects, such as a second plant,” Goodin said in a statement.

Dakota Prairie Refinery Begins Operations in Western ND - The Baaken Magazine 

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          Land Board Awards More than $12 Million in Energy Impact Grants   
By ND Governor's Office
The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today awarded more than $12 million in Energy Impact Grants for political subdivisions impacted by rapid development in the state’s oil and gas counties. More than 130 grants totaling $12,360,242 were awarded from the Oil and Gas Impact Grant fund to political subdivisions, including cities, counties, townships and park districts.
 
The Legislature provided nearly $240 million in Energy Impact Grants for the 2013-2015 biennium to help western North Dakota address increased growth and activity. More than $18 million of that amount was allocated for political subdivisions without a specific grant round. Other grant rounds include cities, fire districts, emergency medical services, K-12 schools, higher education, airports and law enforcement.
 
“These grants are an important part of our ongoing commitment to help the oil and gas region meet the challenges created by rapid growth,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. “This funding will help political subdivisions in western North Dakota address their immediate needs and make the necessary infrastructure enhancements to mitigate the impacts of increased energy development.”
 
Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member Land Board. Other members of the board are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
 
To date, including the grants awarded today, the Land Board has committed nearly $220 million in state Energy Impact Grants and will award a total of nearly $240 million in grants during the 2013-2015 biennium. The grants are used to address a wide range of needs, including enhancements for law enforcement agencies and emergency services; upgrades to airports, as well as county and city infrastructure; and support for growing schools.
 
In all, the state will invest about $2.7 billion to support the state’s oil and gas region during the current biennium. The state commitment – more than twice the amount of the previous, two-year funding package of about $1.2 billion – includes funding for highway, county and township road improvements; water supply and water treatment projects and the development of affordable housing. Other state commitments include stationing more Highway Patrol troopers in western North Dakota; enhancements to the region’s court system and funding for dust suppression projects.
 
For a complete list of grants approved today by the Land Board, go to: www.nd.gov/energyimpact.

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           2015 Governor’s Travel and Tourism Awards Announced   
By ND Commerce Tourism Division
Six Governor’s Travel and Tourism Awards recognizing outstanding leaders in North Dakota’s tourism industry were presented today as part of the 2015 North Dakota Travel and Tourism Conference in Minot. The awards were presented by North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson.

“North Dakota’s tourism industry is making significant contributions to our communities and state, and plays an integral role in the growth and strength of our economy,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. “These tourism professionals are being honored for their dedication, innovation and leadership, and exemplify the outstanding work occurring across the state to advance our tourism opportunities and successes. They are on the front lines as ambassadors for North Dakota and we are proud to honor and thank them, as well as all of our tourism partners, for their service to the industry and to our state.”

Tiffany Irving, Front-line Tourism Employee. Front Office Manager for Staybridge Suites Fargo and the Intercontinental Hotels Group 2014 “Best of the Best” Guest Service Representative, Tiffany Irving has worked to personify customer service. With glowing reviews from hotel guests after helping with reservations, billing, and other general issues, Tiffany has also earned respect from her industry peers.  Her training methods and enthusiastic attitude have helped fellow employees improve their job performance, ultimately improving Staybridge Suites Fargo’s guest survey scores. In part due to the superior service standards Tiffany oversees, the hotel earned the company’s 2014 Quality Excellence Award.

Fred Flood, Behind the Scenes Tourism Employee. As a staff member at Staybridge Suites in Fargo since 2012, Fred Flood has worked his way up from housekeeper to assisting the hotel’s chief engineer. Although fellow staff members describe him as a “jack of all trades,” handling everything from driving the shuttle, taking care of maintenance, guest luggage, housekeeping, and gardening, Fred’s top priority is ensuring he makes a difference in the experience of each guest. He believes in continually creating value for others and building relationships with Staybridge guests and co-workers.

Terry Harzinski, Travel and Tourism Industry Leader. Terry Harzinski was instrumental in establishing the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau and has worked to serve the community since 1986. He retired from his position as CEO of the CVB in 2015. His passion and dedication helped attract several national and international events to Bismarck-Mandan and in the process promoted the entire state of North Dakota. Some of the events Terry helped attract include the 1989 Women’s International Bowling Congress drawing roughly 50,000 people; the 1991 National High School Athletic Coaches Association national convention, the WBCCI Airstream Rally in 1993 and in 2000; the World Horseshoe Tournament in 2000, the World Curling Championship in 2002, and the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in 2012 and 2014. Terry truly helped the Bismarck-Mandan area become a destination for both business and leisure travel, conferences and conventions.

Unglued Craft Fest, Event of the Year. This two-day event at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo attracted 5,000 attendees to view a curated selection of the region’s top makers, crafters and artists. More than 80 vendors sold their wares against a backdrop of live local music, artisan food and local coffee roasters. Unglued inspired the community to get creative through free workshops and project offerings, the make-and-take craft lounge and an indoor chalk fest by the Art Partnership. The event was started in 2011 by a small group of friends who did sewing and other creative projects in the evenings and has proven profitable to participating artists and vendors.

Williston Area Recreation Center, Tourism Attraction of the Year. Since this state-of-the-art facility opened one year ago in March 2014, it has hosted more than 330,000 guests. While Williston resident members have been active users of the ARC, more than 78,000 non-members have also used the facility through day passes and special events. The ARC has enhanced the Williston community’s ability to provide year-round recreational activities including swim meets, basketball tournaments, community fundraising events, training sessions, and even wedding receptions. The ARC will continue to grow its offerings by hosting volleyball tournaments and track meets in 2015.  While the facility has received a lot of local attention, it has also earned broader attention being featured in print, radio, video and social media stories including in the National Recreation Parks Association magazine and website. The ARC has also earned North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association Golden Egg Award, the Williston Economic Development Award as Project of the Year, and the North Dakota Ready-Mix and Concrete Products Association Gold Award for Government Projects. 
North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, Tourism Organization of the Year. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department has grown to include 13 state parks and 10 recreation areas, hosting millions of visitors each year. From marinas, beaches, campsites and corrals, to hiking trails, scenic overlooks and interpretive centers, North Dakota’s parks and recreation sites are available for all and encourage an appreciation for the great outdoors. They also play an important role in the economy and recreation opportunities of nearby communities. While its responsibilities have expanded since 1965, the department continues to remain focused on conserving nature, preserving history and providing outdoor recreational activities to residents and visitors alike. Visitors often cite the cleanliness and appearance of the parks as first rate and praise the staff for their efforts, friendliness and helpfulness.
“We are proud to have such great individuals and partners across the state representing the travel industry,” said Sara Otte Coleman, director of North Dakota Tourism. “The personalized service and unique opportunities they provide are truly what sets our state apart. They are what makes North Dakota Legendary.”

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          Impact Dakota Announces Lean Product Development Workshop   
By ND Commerce
Impact Dakota will host two lean product development workshops May 4 at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Ramada Plaza Suites in Fargo. The workshop is open to company owners, chief executive officers, presidents and engineering managers
 
The workshops will focus on “Lean Product Development”, providing companies with innovative ways to design and produce products for market. The workshops will also teach participants how to integrate lean tools with product development in their company.
 
“This workshop gets company leaders engaged in examining their product development activities and process through ten “lenses” of best-in-class Lean Product Development methods,” Tony Richards, CEO of Impact Dakota said. “Participants will leave the conference with a number of Lean Product Development tools that can help their company,”
 
Registration is available online now by visiting www.impactdakota.com or by contacting
Dan Halverson, Impact Dakota at 701-328-5472 or danh@impactdakota.com. Cost for the workshop is $99.
 
Ed Maier, a product development expert, will lead the workshop. Maier is a Certified Lean Product Development Master Instructor, an Innovation Engineering “Trained Brain”, Business Growth Coach and Systematic Inventive Thinking Method Coach. He also has extensive training in Technology Driven Market Intelligence and Technology Scouting methods.
 
Lean Product Development is the application of lean principles to product development. Lean Product Development speeds the time to market by eliminating the root causes of time-consuming and expensive design changes. In reducing the time, Lean Product Development also helps reduce the costs and risks involved in product development.
 
About Impact Dakota
Impact Dakota was established in 2001 and is dedicated to helping companies improve business results through continuous improvement, innovation, and the development of people. The success of Impact Dakota is measured by the benefits and impacts realized by the companies served. Through an independent 3rd party project follow-up process, companies have reported $459M in benefits and impacts and 2,733 jobs created or retained from 678 improvement projects.
 
Impact Dakota is an affiliate of the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership – the nation’s largest business assistance network dedicated to developing domestic manufacturing and related industries. For more information, visit www.impactdakota.com.

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          Robust Economy, Lots of Hiring, Thin Substitute Teacher Ranks in Region   
By InForum
Paul Zens can teach you all about history.

Asian history. European history. American history. If it’s got a past, he can teach it, the North Dakota State University graduate says. 

But French? Pas du tout!

The 26-year-old Alexandria, Minn., native knows zero, zip, non French.

Still, as a substitute teacher, Zens recently had to stand in front of a class of French students at Fargo North High School.

Fortunately, all he had to do was stand, take attendance, then escort the students to another room for a lecture on Scandinavia.

“The only (classes) I don’t substitute in are band or music,” Zens said. “It’s exciting. A different thing every day. Hopefully, it leads me to a full-time job in the district.”

Zens and others like him are getting harder to find in Fargo-Moorhead. There’s a shortage of substitute teachers and paraprofessionals in area districts.

The three big school districts need 100 to 120 substitutes daily for teachers, paraprofessionals and other jobs to cover illnesses, teacher training, emergencies and other absences.

But with the robust economy – and lots of full-time teacher hiring locally – the substitute ranks often fall seven to 15 positions short a day in each district, officials at Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead public schools say.

“It is harder to get the jobs filled, absolutely,” said Kristin Dehmer, executive director of human resources for Moorhead School District. “Everyone is having concerns right now”

Sheryl Lehman, director of human relations for Fargo School District, says enrollment growth is a plus and a minus. More classrooms need more full-time teachers, but that depletes substitute ranks.

“We’re large school districts all competing for the same pool of substitute teachers. That becomes difficult,” Lehman said.

The West Fargo School District expects to add 500 students a year for several years. Fargo expects about 200 students a year for the foreseeable future. Moorhead, too, is planning for growth at all levels, and is preparing to ask taxpayers to build a new elementary school, an addition to Horizon Middle School, and, in time, to either renovate Moorhead High or build a new school.

West Fargo Human Resources Director Robin Hill is deeply familiar with the annual scramble to put teachers in front of classes as it’s opened several new schools and expanded others. West Fargo has hired 70 to 90 new teachers a year for several years, she said.

“We create more demand (for substitutes) by adding staff. And then we do hire a lot of people that have been successful substitute teachers for us,” she said.

“We do struggle on a daily basis. We hope as spring is approaching that there will be fewer absences due to illnesses. It gets to be pretty critical over the winter months,” Hill said.

Widespread shortages

The shortage of substitute teachers is not limited to the F-M area. Minnesota and North Dakota see shortages statewide.

Janet Welk, executive director of the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board, said chronic shortages of substitutes has led to looser licensing requirements.

In 2001, the education requirement went from being a fully prepared teacher to holding a bachelor’s degree and getting a letter from a school district saying it needs the individual as a substitute, Welk said.

A year ago, the rules were relaxed further. Now, a substitute needs just 48 hours of post-secondary credit – two years of college – plus the letter from a school district, Welk said.

Welk said North Dakota is graduating fewer teachers, even as student numbers have grown in the Oil Patch and large cities.

“When I started in this position in 1998, we were issuing right around 800 licenses to in-state grads every year. Now, it’s down to about 600,” Welk said.

In 1994, there were 816 graduates who had completed all the requirements for a teaching degree. In 2013, there were 660, and that was a blip upward. In 2012, there were 588 teaching graduates, and in 2011, 591, Welk said.

Now North Dakota relies heavily on teachers moving here from other states.

This school year, 298 North Dakota grads have been issued two-year teaching licenses, while 301 licenses went to out-of-state teachers, Welk said.

In the 2013-14 school year, 586 teaching licenses went to North Dakota grades, while 590 went to out-of-state applicants.

“We’re expecting 3,000 more students in the Bismarck system in the next five years,” Welk said. “I don’t know where we’re going to get our teachers.”

Minnesota Public Radio recently reported that fewer people are entering teaching in that state, too.

The number of licenses awarded to graduates of Minnesota’s state teacher preparation programs dropped 7 percent from 2008 to 2013, according to Minnesota Department of Education data.

Overall, the number of people who finished teacher preparation programs fell by 723 from 2009 to 2011, a 16 percent drop, MPR reported.

A strong economy and expanding opportunities for college grads in other fields, such as technology, make teaching less competitive, Welk said.

Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead public schools pay $100 a day for substitutes. Moorhead pays $115 a day if a retired Moorhead teacher subs.

Fargo and West Fargo also have bonus systems to reward teachers who take multiple substitute jobs, Hill and Lehman said.

All of the school districts reach out to the region’s colleges to recruit grads with education degrees.

December grads may not get a full-time teaching contract right away, but substitute teaching can pile up experience and show off talent, Lehman said.

Picking up a substitute teaching job can be as easy as picking up a smart phone.

Zens has an app on his phone that puts jobs one touch away. If he likes an offer, one tap on his screen seals the deal.

“Most of the time, my jobs are lined up a week in advance,” Zens said. “You don’t have to do a whole lot of hunting” for work.

Have license, will travel

For Brandy Haugen, the substitute experience has been good, though she’d much prefer to work full time as a teacher.

After directing a Moorhead High School social studies class to watch a short film, Haugen talked about her substitute teaching experience. She said being licensed in Minnesota and North Dakota expands her options.

But full-time social studies teaching jobs are hard to find. There are open posts for teachers in math, the sciences and some specialty areas, but social studies is a crowded field, the Fargo woman said.

“I’m waiting for something to open,” the 24-year-old said.

“I check Fargo. I check Moorhead. I check West Fargo. I check all the way to Fergus Falls,” Haugen said. “It’s just a waiting game. Everything is ready to go, waiting on that one position.”

Originally printed in "Robust Economy, Lots of Hiring, Thin Substitute Teacher Ranks in Region" by InFourm.

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          U.S. Census Bureau Report Shows Growth Across North Dakota   
By ND Commerce
The U.S. Census Bureau today released the agency’s annual metropolitan/micropolitan area and county population estimates showing population growth across most areas of North Dakota. 
 
Two North Dakota micro areas ranked as the nation’s fastest growing with a population of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000. The Williston micro area (Williams County) was ranked first, as the fastest growing county in the nation with 8.7 percent growth or 2,567 new residents and the Dickinson micro area (Stark County) was ranked second as the nation’s fastest growing with 7 percent growth or 1,995 new residents in the past year.
 
Nationally, McKenzie County was the fastest growing county of less than 10,000 in the country with an 18.3 percent growth or 1,669 new residents.
 
The report also showed that the Bismarck metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was ranked as the 22nd fastest growing metro area. The Bismarck MSA is estimated to have grown by 2.1 percent or 2,604 addition residents in the past year. The Fargo area grew at 2 percent or 4,438 residents.
 
A metro area contains a population of 50,000 or more, while a micro area contains at least 10,000, but less than 50,000.
 
“The growth continues wide spread across most of state with 32 of the state’s 53 counties gaining population,” said Kevin Iverson, manager of the North Dakota Census Office.  “This new data indicates growth is a bit slower than we had seen in previous years, but continues the kind of change we have been experiencing for the past few years as a result of in-migration to the state.”
 
So far this decade North Dakota’s population has grown by 9.9 percent since the 2010 Census. That is more than any other state. For the most recent year of the data, from 2013 to 2014, the state grew 2.2 percent. As recently as 2007, North Dakota had been experiencing a net out-migration.
 
The full report is available at: http://www.census.gov/.

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          SALES ASSOCIATE - Dollar General - Hays, NC   
High school diploma or equivalent preferred. At Dollar General, you can see a clear and fast path to career growth and success....
From Dollar General - Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:28:59 GMT - View all Hays, NC jobs
          NDSU Study Gives Hard Numbers to the Impact of the Oil & Gas Industry   
KX News
People at the Capitol are learning just how drastic the impact of the oil and gas industry are having on our state. 

43 billion dollars was added to the North Dakota economy in 2013 according to an NDSU study.

To support this growth 60,000 jobs have been created since 2005.

This is a 750 percent total increase.

Dean Bangsund a research scientist from NDSU says that North Dakota still has a long way to go to keep up with the changes.

"I think the industry has expanded faster than the state could respond in terms of infrastructure, there is tremendous needs for roads, sewer and water, housing, everything that goes with maintaining a healthy economy, we now need to catch up so I think that despite all of the revenues coming in we still have some tremendous challenges for us in Western North Dakota." says Dean Bangsund, research scientist as the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at NDSU.

Bangsund says that he expects the number of jobs created to drop in 2015 depending on the price of oil and what the industry does in response to those changes.

NDSU Study Gives Hard Numbers to the Impact of the Oil & Gas Industry - KX News

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          North Dakota Economic Development Foundation Announces New Board Member    
By ND Commerce
Commerce Commissioner Alan Anderson announced a new member of the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation board today, Danita Bye with Dakota Leadership in Stanley.

Bye is the founder of Dakota Leadership and Sales Growth Specialists, a leadership development and management consulting firm. Bye brings 30 years of success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics industries. She is a frequent speaker at entrepreneurial events, including Carlson’s School of Management and the nationally recognized, Project Skyway. Bye is on the Board of Trustees at University of Sioux Falls and has a Masters in Transformational Leadership from Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

“Danita brings a wealth of experience and understanding of the business community and will be a great addition to our board.” Anderson said.
 
The North Dakota Economic Development Foundation is a private foundation established by the Legislature in 2001 to provide private-sector guidance and oversight of the state's economic development efforts. The Foundation board helps create strategic plans to strengthen and broaden North Dakota’s economic development.
 
The Foundation establishes and maintains a strategic plan for economic development managed by twenty-three business leaders from all corners of the state. The board meets quarterly to monitor progress toward economic development goals, to discuss major business and economic issues, and to offer suggestions for improving North Dakota's business climate. Each member of the board serves a two-year term.
 
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
 
For more North Dakota news and information subscribe to the Commerce News RSS Feed or go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          SALES ASSOCIATE - Dollar General - Germanton, NC   
High school diploma or equivalent preferred. At Dollar General, you can see a clear and fast path to career growth and success....
From Dollar General - Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:29:48 GMT - View all Germanton, NC jobs
          ND Governor Dalrymple to Sign $1.1 Billion "Surge Funding" Bill   
By Washington Times

Gov. Jack Dalrymple has slated a signing ceremony for a bill that will fast-track $1.1 billion for highways and communities affected by North Dakota’s exploding growth.

The governor’s staff says he will sign the bill Tuesday morning at the state Capitol.

The Senate voted 46-0 on Monday to approve the “surge funding” bill that is being rushed through the legislative process so projects can begin by summer. Most of the money is slated for the booming oil-producing region in the western part of the state.

ND Governor Dalrymple to Sign $1.1 Billion "Surge Funding" Bill - Washington Times 

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          SALES ASSOCIATE - Dollar General - Pinnacle, NC   
High school diploma or equivalent preferred. At Dollar General, you can see a clear and fast path to career growth and success....
From Dollar General - Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:52:21 GMT - View all Pinnacle, NC jobs
          SALES ASSOCIATE - Dollar General - Elkin, NC   
High school diploma or equivalent preferred. At Dollar General, you can see a clear and fast path to career growth and success....
From Dollar General - Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:35:36 GMT - View all Elkin, NC jobs
          Building a Giant in the Heavy-Equipment Industry   
By Gallup
"To be successful today, you've got to convince customers that you'll take care of them when they're down -- and you've got to walk the walk, you can't just talk it. You've got to prove it time and time again."

So says Ron Offutt, founder of RDO Equipment Co., one of the largest John Deere dealers in North America. He is also the founder of R.D. Offutt Company, the largest potato grower in the U.S.

For more than 45 years, Ron has been building an empire on lifelong relationships with agriculture and construction equipment customers by adhering to three simple principles: maintain a sense of core values, understand your stakeholders' ever-shifting needs and deliver the finest service. His family business grew steadily, got big, went public and then was taken private again, and the equipment side became a $2 billion business.

It all started along the North Dakota-Minnesota border in the metropolitan area of Fargo-Moorhead in 1968. Ron was farming in partnership with his father and renting equipment from a John Deere dealer in Casselton, North Dakota, when the dealer offered him the opportunity to buy the business.

From that initial purchase, Ron steadily acquired John Deere dealerships throughout the upper Midwest. RDO now operates in more than 100 locations across the U.S. and worldwide, with 90% domestic revenue growth over the past five years (13.9% compound annual growth rate) and nearly triple domestic operating income growth. RDO offers a wide array of construction and farming equipment for high-performance companies across the globe.

How did one dealership turn into a giant in the heavy equipment industry? With an intense focus on engaging employees and customers throughout their business.

From Private, to Public, to Private Again

A visit to RDO in late 2014 finds a workforce brimming with excitement about the company's heritage and its future. In the flagship Moorhead location, relics from the past -- classic tractors and other historical machinery -- are on display alongside cutting-edge farming equipment. In a daily storewide meeting, team members discuss the projects they are currently working on and exchange ideas, while managers motivate their employees with goals for that day, week and month.

Employees at the store are quick to say that the company is a "great place to work."

"This is a great industry to be in, and if you're going to be a part of it, we want you to choose us," says Jean Zimmerman, RDO's executive vice president of organizational development.

Zimmerman notes that the company's culture is guided by the principles of servant leadership, radical transparency, personal growth and, above all, trust.

As RDO grew throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s, so did the enticement of taking this family-owned business public. In 1997, Ron issued an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. In a booming economy, the decision seemed to be the right one. But almost immediately, things didn't turn out as planned.

"Very quickly I knew that I didn't like the public game, and I don't think my father did either. There was lots and lots of pressure to grow," says Christi Offutt, Ron's daughter and chairwoman and CEO of RDO. "But what I was learning was that the more pressure the team got to meet quarterly expectations, the worse the company was performing. We were moving away from talking about the customer, we were moving away from talking about the culture, and we were spending all of our time talking about meeting analyst expectations to keep the revenues growing."

Amid these frustrations, the board of directors chose Christi to become chief operating officer in 2001. Soon after that, the Offutt family took the company private again, where it has remained ever since. Christi stayed at the helm. Ron characterizes this time as the dividing point between what RDO originally was and what it is today.

"I think there are two cultures in the life of our business: the one that I started, and the one that Christi started," Ron says. "I was able to be successful in the business when I created a culture of tremendous loyalty on behalf of the employees who worked for me. We knew each other's families; we knew each other's personal strengths and weaknesses. As [the company] grew, that culture needed to change for the company to take the next step, which Christi brought to the house."

Shifting From a Transactional Business to a Solutions Provider

In the company's first phase, before Christi took over in 2001, RDO sold much more individual agricultural equipment. Farms were smaller then, and there were more of them.

"When I started, [RDO] was very much a transactional business -- sale by sale, customer by customer," Ron says. "Today it's more about being a solutions provider for your customer and helping that customer solve his or her problem."

In RDO's modern culture, top leaders at the company say they maintain their success internally and externally by adhering to a set of action-oriented core values for business operation. These values include collaborating with employees, building customers for life, creating opportunities and committing to doing what they say and playing to win. RDO prides itself on the principle "There are no secrets here."

"We've instilled and empowered our managers to understand what our core values are and how we operate with our stakeholders so they can make the right decision," says Chris Cooper, an executive vice president at RDO.

Keith Kreps, also an RDO executive vice president, says a culture of creativity and trust exists companywide, which fosters innovation and high levels of employee engagement. "When you don't feel like you're paralyzed by making the wrong decision that could affect your career or affect your job -- as long as you made an educated decision -- you really get people coming out with great ideas and a lot of creativity. They're willing to go out there and 'wow' our other employees and customers," Kreps says.

Toward True Engagement

In 2014, RDO worked with Gallup to move beyond employee satisfaction -- which focuses more on superficial company perks -- to true employee engagement, which is about fostering a deeper sense of connection to one's job and company. Now, 52% of RDO's employees are engaged, with 8.67 engaged employees for every one actively disengaged employee. Organizations that lead the world in employee engagement have 9.1 engaged employees to every disengaged employee, so these are "very encouraging early results," Zimmerman says.

Zimmerman credits these results to initiatives the company implemented over the past several years. Every employee now has an individual learning plan, and RDO spends 15% more on training than comparable-sized organizations. The company offers a 30-month management institute for its leaders. RDO leaders have also integrated engagement into their leadership approach and communication strategy, weaving it into their operations and day-to-day conversations.

"I truly believe that the initiatives we've developed to support our culture along with a strengths-based leadership approach leads to a more engaged workplace culture," Christi says.

Zimmerman agrees, emphasizing that the culture must promote hard work and RDO must be an enjoyable place to work. "We've taken steps of making this a place that attracts and keeps employees and attracts and keeps our customers," he says.

Growing Pains

Because of RDO's persistent growth, the company is experiencing some growing pains. In part, this is the result of the breakneck pace of North Dakota's economy and the various challenges that come with operating in nine U.S. states. Business is booming so much that there are too many jobs and not enough people to fill them.

"We've got well over 2,000 employees, but we have opportunities to continue to grow," Cooper says. "We have close to 200 open positions that we're still trying to fill."

Christi mentions that there is plenty of competition for today's skilled labor pool: "We've recruited from everywhere -- Georgia, Florida, California, Alaska -- it's a continuous challenge."

Amid these challenges, RDO continues to redefine the business of equipment in the 21st century. The company's leaders say RDO is committed to finding cutting-edge solutions for its customers.

"I think you'll see less growth in the size of the machines," Ron says. "What you're going to see is more intelligent equipment, and that will increase productivity for the producer."

This kind of "precision agriculture" may keep RDO at the forefront of offering technological solutions to its customers, and the company sees further growth from its ventures in Russia, Ukraine, Mexico and Australia in the years to come. Already these international partnerships are providing solutions to a wide range of customers, even in troubled hot spots. RDO forecasts $360 million in international revenues in 2015, of which Russia and Ukraine factor into the mix.

Ryan Offutt, Ron's son and Christi's brother, runs RDO's Russia and Ukraine operations. As someone who represents the future of RDO and the path it will take in decades to come, he reflects on how what RDO means to customers in 2015. "We're a big part of our customers' lives, and they're dependent upon on our team members to deliver solutions to them every day," Ryan says. "Having a reliable partner is critical to their success."

Building a Giant in the Heavy-Equipment Industry - Gallup.com

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          North Dakota Ranks First in Job Creation for the 6th Consecutive Year   
By ND Governor's Office
For the sixth consecutive year, the Gallup Job Creation Index has ranked North Dakota the nation’s best state for creating jobs.
 
“North Dakota maintained its pre-eminent position in Gallup’s annual ranking of state job markets in 2014, with North Dakota residents providing a strongly upbeat report on hiring conditions where they work – the most positive of any state,”  the 2014 Gallup Job Creation Index states.
 
Following North Dakota, Texas ranked second, Nebraska third and Wisconsin fourth in Gallup’s annual job creation index.
 
“The fact that North Dakota leads the nation in job growth year after year is a testament to the hardworking people and the innovative businesses all across our state,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “We have worked hard to develop an environment that supports job growth in North Dakota and we will continue to do our part to further diversify our strong economy which is producing a growing number of career and business opportunities.”
 
Gallup’s Job Creation Index is derived from full- and part-time workers' reports of whether their employer is hiring and expanding the size of its workforce, not making changes, or reducing its workforce. The index is based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 2-Dec. 30, 2014, with a random sample of 201,254 employed adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The full report is available at http://www.gallup.com.
 
North Dakota continues to have the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.8 percent. In January 2015, the state recorded having about 19,700 open and available jobs – about 17 percent more job openings than the state recorded in January 2014, North Dakota Job Service reports.

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          No Bust Seen as Dakota Oil Firms Keep Staff Amid Price Drop    
By Bloomberg Business
A plunge in global energy prices that has put some North Dakota oil rigs in a deep freeze has yet to chill the state’s hiring climate.

By almost any metric -- the jobless rate, payrolls, claims for unemployment benefits -- there is scant evidence to indicate the state at the epicenter of the U.S. shale-oil boom is about to stumble.

With memories still fresh in their minds of how difficult it was to find help, energy-industry employers in the fourth-smallest state by population probably won’t be quick to dismiss staff. Even those people who are let go may find their skills are transferable, filling positions to finish infrastructure projects long-delayed by a worker shortage.
 
“This won’t be a bust,” Harold Hamm, founder and chief executive officer of Continental Resources Inc., the largest leaseholder and producer in the Bakken shale play of North Dakota and Montana, said in a Jan. 28 interview with Bloomberg. “There’s plenty to do.”

At 2.8 percent in December, North Dakota’s jobless rate has been little changed since July and is the lowest of any state in the U.S. It had been as low as 2.5 percent in April, a record in data going back to 1976.

Its payrolls grew by 24,500 workers last year, or 5.4 percent -- the biggest percentage increase of any state.

Payroll Growth

Even over the past six months, when crude oil prices began to slide, payrolls in North Dakota have maintained an above-average rate of growth. Employment was up 2.4 percent from July through December, more than three times the 0.7 percent gain typical for the state over six-month periods during the U.S. economic expansion that ended in December 2007.

Job openings were up 17 percent last month from January 2013, according to data released Wednesday from the state’s labor department. There were 0.5 unemployed North Dakotans per opening in December, the latest month data were available. Vacancies have outnumbered the state’s jobless since June 2011.

Dismissals are also down. In December, 4,912 workers filed applications for unemployment insurance payments, 12.4 percent fewer than in December 2013.

“They want to retain their very best employees, anticipating a return to prior price levels,” said Michael Ziesch, manager of North Dakota’s Labor Market Information Center at the state’s labor department. “Even if things slow down somewhat, a plateauing or soft landing isn’t a bad thing -- it gives some of these jurisdictions a chance to catch their breath a little bit.”

Fewer Rigs

A global oil glut that’s sent prices plummeting for months is testing those North Dakota businesses awaiting a rebound. The number of oil and natural-gas rigs operating in North Dakota as of Jan. 30 was 143, the fewest in more than four years, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. Still, energy companies are pledging to stay the course.

“We’re going to be training people during this downturn and taking advantage of time to increase the intensity of training,” said Continental Resources’s Hamm.

He said staffing levels in North Dakota haven’t changed and he has no plans to trim his workforce there this year.

West Texas Intermediate for March delivery closed at $53.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Feb. 3, down from a 2014 high of $107.26 in late June. WTI is up 19 percent from its Jan. 28 close of $44.45, which was the lowest since March 2009.

Tax Break

The drop in oil prices has been severe enough to trigger a self-correcting mechanism that may boost production by April, according to the state’s Department of Mineral Resources. Extraction taxes as of this month will be reduced by statute to 2 percent per barrel from 6.5 percent.

For some oil companies, the price slump could mean employees will transfer from rig operations to other projects.

“The state continues to pump a bunch of money into infrastructure, and those projects have been way behind,” said Andy Peterson, chief executive officer of the Greater North Dakota Chamber, the state’s chamber of commerce. “This will allow the state to catch up on some road building, bridge improvement, sewage plants, water plants, all kinds of things.”

State legislators are considering a $1.1 billion bill that would tap energy-related revenue to fund infrastructure needs in western North Dakota. The Senate passed the measure Jan. 29 by 44 to 2 and the House takes it up this month.

Redirect Workers

Bismarck, North Dakota-based oil producer MDU Resources Group Inc. is one company looking to allocate more workers toward its construction projects.

“In the construction business in the last couple years it’s been very difficult to find enough workers,” said Rick Matteson, the company’s communications director. “And in North Dakota, particularly with all the money that’s been directed toward the Bakken infrastructure growth, there’s just been a lot of work up there.”

In Watford City, where dirt roads connect drilling sites with a new Subway Restaurants sandwich shop and a hotel parking lot packed with rig-workers’ vans, the needs are evident. Other businesses, though, also are upbeat in the face of the oil-price drop.

“There’s always hiring” in this area, said Erin Hammel, general manager of the four-employee Anytime Fitness, which opened about four months ago. “We will of course need some more hands” when demand picks up, she said.

Broad Demand

The demand for services to accommodate the influx of oil workers is far-reaching. In Fargo, on the eastern end of the state opposite the Bakken oil formation in the northwest, the labor market is about as hot as it gets: a 2.2 percent jobless rate in November that was even lower than the state average.

That earned Fargo the No. 2 spot in the “best job markets for 2015” as ranked by ZipRecruiter, an online job-search tool, which analyzed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Job Service North Dakota, the state’s labor wing that provides workforce training, has targeted five areas based on priorities outlined by Governor Jack Dalrymple. Of 318 workers trained in program year 2013, a plurality of 117 were preparing for jobs in the health-care industry.

For North Dakota, the challenge is keeping those workers who streamed in to take advantage of oil-industry positions paying better-than-average wages. As labor-market conditions improve in their former states, those “commuter” workers could find themselves being drawn back, said Ziesch, the state labor agency official.

Total Payrolls

At the end of 2014, the state had 476,200 people on non-farm payrolls, up 29 percent from 2009 and almost four times the 8 percent increase in the national workforce over the same period, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

To be sure, Ziesch and his data-watching colleagues project there will be some loss of jobs in the energy industry, though it may not show up for another couple months, when it becomes easier to separate changes induced by the slump in oil prices from the influence of harsh weather, he said.

In the meantime, business owners such as Simon Chan remain upbeat about prospects. The Los Angeles transplant opened Basil, a sushi bar and Asian-fusion restaurant, in North Dakota’s energy-boom capital of Williston in September 2013. He decided to move there based on a tip from a customer after spending seven years in Casper, Wyoming, another oil boomtown.

Chan has a help-wanted sign in the window even after a 15 percent drop-off in business since December that was larger than the typical post-holiday slowdown. He said a couple of workers will leave soon for reasons unrelated to the oil slump, and wants to have replacements ready to maintain a staff of 20 so service and quality don’t suffer.

“Oil is just like stock -- eventually, with time, it’ll go up,” he said.

No Bust Seen as Dakota Oil Firms Keep Staff Amid Price Drop - Bloomberg Business

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          Dalrymple Presents Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award to Chief Justice VandeWalle   
VandeWallePortraitGov. Jack Dalrymple today presented the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award to North Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle. He is the 41st recipient of the award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens.
 
The award was presented following VandeWalle’s State of the Judiciary Address to a joint session of the 64th North Dakota Legislative Assembly. Other speakers at the ceremony included South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson; Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners; and North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Dale Sandstrom.
 
“When you think about visionary leaders having a significant impact on our state, Justice VandeWalle stands out among the rest,” Dalrymple said. “Throughout his tenure, he has been instrumental in strengthening North Dakota’s judicial system and enhancing the safety and quality of life for our communities. His commitment to upholding the laws of our state and protecting the fundamental rights of our people has shaped his service over the past three decades and his numerous accomplishments will leave a lasting legacy on our state court system and the state of North Dakota.”
 
Justice VandeWalle has served on the North Dakota Supreme Court for more than 36 years and was recently re-elected to his fourth 10-year term. He has served as the court’s Chief Justice for the past 21 years, making him the longest-serving Chief Justice in North Dakota history and the longest-serving of all sitting Chief Justices in the nation.
 
Throughout his career, VandeWalle has made important contributions to the North Dakota Supreme Court and the state court system. He played an integral role in the unification of the court system, establishing a unified, statewide approach to court proceedings and the administration of justice. He was instrumental in redefining North Dakota’s judicial districts and increasing the number of judges to accommodate growth in the state’s economy and population. He also promoted the establishment of a mediation program for family law cases and created a trial court administration system to place administrators within the judicial districts to oversee court procedures.
 
VandeWalle was born in 1933, and raised in Noonan, North Dakota. He attended the University of North Dakota, and in 1955, received a bachelor of science degree in Commerce from the School of Business. In 1958, he received a juris doctor degree magna cum laude from the University of North Dakota School of Law.
 
He was admitted to the State Bar of North Dakota in 1958 and accepted an appointment as Special Assistant Attorney General. In 1975, he was appointed First Assistant Attorney General. During his 20 years in the Attorney General’s office, VandeWalle held several portfolios, including elementary, secondary and higher education; the North Dakota Industrial Commission oil and gas division; and the State Retirement System.
 
In August 1978, VandeWalle was appointed to the North Dakota Supreme Court. That November, he was elected to serve an unexpired term and was re-elected to 10-year terms in 1984, 1994, 2004 and 2014.
 
In 1993, he was elected Chief Justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court, and has been reelected to that post for five consecutive terms. His more than two decades as Chief Justice makes him the state’s longest-serving and the nation’s longest-serving of all sitting Chief Justices.
 
Between 1985 and 1987, VandeWalle served as the first chair of the North Dakota Judicial Conference. He also served as co-chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Bar Admissions Committee and past chair of the Federal-State Tribal Relations Committee of the Conference of Chief Justices. He is past chair of the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the ABA, past President of the Conference of Chief Justices, past chair of the National Center for State Courts, and past chair of the National Center for State Court’s Research Advisory Council.
 
VandeWalle has received several national awards and recognitions, including the Kutak Award from the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar recognizing substantial contributions toward increased understanding between legal education and the active practice of law; the American Inns of Court Professionalism award for the 8th Circuit; the National Center for State Courts Paul C. Reardon Award for outstanding contributions to the justice system; and the Warren Burger Society Award recognizing volunteers who have given extraordinary contributions of service to the National Center for State Courts.
 
“The idea that I would ever receive the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award from the state and people I love was never even in my wildest dreams or imagination,” VandeWalle said. “I cannot believe it is real. But if it is, I hope the focus is not on me as an individual, but rather appreciation and respect for the rule of law and our judicial system.”
 
An honorary rank of Colonel in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders was established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial. The award recognizes present and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens.


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          North Dakota Hosted 24 Million Visitors in 2013   
By ND Commerce

ND Tourism announced research results including $3.6 billion in visitor spending and unveiled the 2015 travel guides, hunting and fishing guide, and state map.

Governor Jack Dalrymple and North Dakota Tourism Division Director Sara Otte Coleman today announced the state’s visitor numbers from 2013. A total of 24 million people visited North Dakota in 2013, spending $3.6 billion in-state in the process. The information was gathered by IHS as part of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), which is the international standard for measuring the contribution of tourism to an economy.

“North Dakota is truly a legendary place with a rich history, beautiful scenery and a variety of things to experience,” Dalrymple said. “We are pleased to have welcomed 24 million visitors to our state in 2013, and look forward to bringing more people here each year. North Dakota is increasingly becoming a destination state and we welcome the opportunity to show off all we have to offer.”

Visitation saw a 22 percent increase between 2011 and 2013, with tourism-related expenditures increasing 19 percent over the same time period. In fact, tourism to North Dakota grew so much over the last decade that domestic leisure travel alone in 2013 was equal to the state’s total visitation numbers in 2008. This includes day-trips, overnight vacations and those visiting friends and relatives. In fact, the North Dakota State Fair, State Parks and the Fargodome all boasted record attendance in 2013.

“While the major attention surrounding North Dakota’s economy is focused on energy and agriculture, tourism is an extremely valuable industry to our state’s bottom line,” Otte Coleman said. “The tourism division is pleased to continue elevating North Dakota in minds of travelers and to bring in additional tax revenue that supports industry growth.”

The $3.6 billion in tourism expenditures from 2013 resulted in $307 million in state and local government taxes paid by visitors. That is the equivalent to a resident tax savings of $1,011 per household or the equivalent of paying for the education of roughly 24,000 public school students.

The majority of expenditures, 55 percent, came from visitors from other U.S. states. International travelers made up 10 percent of the total, and in-state residents traveling to other parts of North Dakota accounted for 14 percent of spending.

All 53 of North Dakota’s counties also took in tourism revenue. The county with the highest revenue was Cass County at $537.36 million. Oliver County had the lowest at $2.08 million.

The majority of visitor expenditures were on food at just over $1 billion. That was followed by shopping at $805 million and accommodations at $544 million.

North Dakota Tourism commissions the study on TSA data every other year, which counts employment, sales and Gross Domestic Product, and allows (implicitly) for measurement of wages and taxes.

IHS is a leading business information services company based in Colorado, and provides North Dakota’s TSA information. IHS Travel and Tourism provides forecasting, research and economic impact analysis for a variety of private organizations, national tourism boards, as well as state and local tourism entities.

“The U.S. tourism industry has rebounded nicely since the Great Recession, but during that same time period, North Dakota tourism has grown by nearly 50 percent,” Shane Norton, director of economic impact analysis for IHS, said. “This explosive growth has been driven by a significant increase in visitation as well as per visitor spending, contributing to a significant rise in tourism related construction and investment.”

View North Dakota’s 2013 TSA report at http://www.ndtourism.com/information/north-dakota-tourism-facts-and-reports

Today North Dakota Tourism also unveiled the 2015 Travel Guide, State Map, and Hunting and Fishing Guide. Each of these resources helps visitors and potential visitors to plan their Legendary experiences, whether they be outdoors, urban, cultural, historical or otherwise. Both guides and the map are available at NDtourism.com.



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          Governor Dalrymple Delivers 2015 State of the State   
In delivering the State of the State address today, Gov. Jack Dalrymple said North Dakota’s strong economy and sound fiscal management make possible additional tax relief as well as investments in statewide priorities including infrastructure, education and meeting the challenges of growth.
 
“Two years ago I stood before you and reported that the state of our state was strong,” Dalrymple said. “Today, I am pleased to tell you that we’ve made great progress since then, and that North Dakota is stronger than ever.”
 
North Dakota has reduced taxes by $4.3 billion since 2009, and Dalrymple recommended that the legislature make even more tax relief a priority.  The legislature also will have an opportunity to pass a property tax reform bill that provides for more spending discipline, and makes it easier for taxpayers to understand how their tax dollars are used in comparison to other political subdivisions, Dalrymple said.
 
North Dakota has also made great progress on road and highway improvements, water supply projects and should continue to invest in the state’s infrastructure needs.  At the same time, North Dakota remains committed to advancing critical flood protection projects, Dalrymple said.
 
In just the past four years, the state has also leveraged nearly $90 million in tax credits and incentive funds to support the development of about 2,500 housing units reserved for low-to-moderate income residents and for essential service employees in western North Dakota.
 
“Never before in our state’s history have we undertaken such an ambitious, ongoing campaign to improve our roads and highways, expand water supply systems, advance flood control projects and develop affordable housing,” Dalrymple said.  “These projects enhance the quality of our lives and support our growing economy. “
 
Public Safety            
As the state’s population and commercial activity have grown, Dalrymple and the legislature have worked together so that North Dakota continues to be one of the safest states in the nation.    
 
Since 2011, the state has steadily expanded the capabilities of the Highway Patrol, the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the state’s judicial system and the Department of Correction’s parole and probation services.
 
For local law enforcement officers in western North Dakota, the region’s rapid growth has created significant challenges.  Within the last four years, the state has provided about $20 million in impact grants to help equip, train and staff local police departments and sheriff’s offices serving in North Dakota’s oil-producing counties.  The state has provided another $30 million to support the region’s fire and emergency medical services. 
 
Oversight of the Oil Industry
The remarkable amount of commerce throughout North Dakota requires that the state continue to strengthen its health and environmental protections as well as its oversight of the oil and gas industry, Dalrymple said.
                       
Since 2011, the state has significantly expanded its regulatory staff within the Oil and Gas Division and the Department of Health, and Dalrymple has recommended funding for 22 additional positions within the Oil and Gas Division and 19 more within the Department of Health. Additionally, the state has adopted new oil conditioning standards to improve the safety of crude oil for transport; required major reductions in the flaring of natural gas and has revised more than 60 sections of regulatory code to strengthen environmental protections.  Dalrymple has also recommended new positions within the Public Service Commission to augment federal oversight of rail safety and pipeline integrity.

“We should all be proud of the vital role our state is playing to help America strengthen its energy independence,” Dalrymple said.  “We have become the nation’s second-largest oil producer, and as our energy production has increased so has our responsibility.”
 
Education
North Dakota has steadily improved its K-12 education system, putting to rest the challenging issues of funding equity and adequacy.  The state has also significantly reduced the local cost of education by increasing the state’s funding commitment.   Dalrymple said the state has an opportunity to build on its success by maintaining strong funding for K-12 schools, by
investing in early childhood education, and by addressing the extraordinary needs of schools challenged by rapid enrollment growth.
 
North Dakota’s strong revenues also allow for continued investments in higher education, while most other states are reducing their funding.  Working together, the governor and legislature have improved the way North Dakota’s universities and colleges are funded, and have made major investments in capital projects and other improvements.

Moving forward, the state can continue to invest in the university system’s critical infrastructure needs, but should focus on programs that make college more affordable for students, Dalrymple said.

The state’s strong economy and sound fiscal management allow for continued investments in other priorities as well, including workforce development, improvements to the state’s park system and other quality-of-life enhancements.
 
“Here in North Dakota, we continue to drive an agenda for progress and a quality of life that is second to none,” Dalrymple said. “We know that progress comes with its own challenges and there is much work ahead.  But we have every reason to be optimistic about our state and the increasing number of opportunities it provides.” 
 
During his address, Dalrymple also spoke about recent declines in oil prices and the potential impact on state revenues.
 
“It’s important for the people of North Dakota to know that we are committed to a structurally balanced state budget, where ongoing spending never exceeds our available, ongoing revenues,” Dalrymple said.  “There are risks associated with any economy that relies on the value of commodities, and those risks must always be carefully considered.  We guard against these risks in several ways, including directing the vast majority of our oil and gas revenues – about 96 percent – to special reserve funds that are not used for ongoing operations.”

North Dakota’s investments in statewide infrastructure projects and other capital projects require one-time funding that doesn’t have to be repeated should state revenues decline.
In February, a new state revenue forecast will be completed and will help guide the legislature’s work, Dalrymple said.

“If adjustments to our spending plan are needed, I am confident our legislature will make prudent decisions based on the best available projections,” Dalrymple said. “In the end, I expect our legislature will find that we can continue to fund our priorities, maintain healthy reserves and provide even more tax relief.”
 

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          Reality Check: Job Growth In The Midwest   
By CBS Minnesota
The U.S. Government said Tuesday the nation’s economy grew at a whopping 5 percent annual rate last summer. That’s the fastest growth since 2003, including jobs coming back to the Midwest.

Nearly every state is gaining jobs, but the Labor Department reports Minnesota and Wisconsin are virtually tied in job creation.

Wisconsin posted 54,600 new jobs in the last year for a growth rate of 1.6 percent. Minnesota has almost as many: 54,200, or 1.5 percent.

That’s good, but not as good as our western neighbors. North Dakota is number one in the country. The oil and gas boom boosted jobs by 22,000.

That number is smaller because there are fewer workers in the state. But by percentage, North Dakota jobs grew a whopping 4.8 percent, according to analysis by Pew Charitable Trust’s Stateline blog.

Only two states actually lost jobs in the last year — Mississippi and Alaska — and the Midwest is doing as well or better than most regions of the country.

National unemployment is dropping fast, and is now at 5.8 percent. State unemployment is even lower. In the Midwest, November 2014, unemployment rates stand at:
  • Wisconsin: 5.2 percent
  • Iowa: 4.3 percent
  • Minnesota: 3.7 percent
  • South Dakota: 3.3 percent
  • North Dakota: 2.7 percent
The Labor Department says a dozen states added more than 50,000 jobs in the last year. Texas led the nation in job growth with 417,000 new jobs.

Reality Check: Job Growth In The Midwest - CBS Minnesota 

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          North Dakota's Population Reaches an All-Time High   
By ND Governor's Office
North Dakota’s population has reached an all-time high of 739,482 residents, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. The state’s latest population estimate is an increase of 15,625 residents from last year’s count.
 
“Our economic growth over the last decade continues to keep North Dakotans home, and we are attracting new residents who come for good jobs, a stable economy and a quality of life that is second to none,” Dalrymple said.
 
North Dakota’s population has increased by 2.2 percent since last year, the largest percent increase in the nation.  North Dakota’s population growth was followed by Nevada and Texas, each recording 1.7 percent growth. With the exception of North Dakota, the 10 fastest-growing states are located in the southern or western regions of the United States.
 
In the early 2000s, North Dakota was one of only a few states with a declining population. The state began to reverse that trend in 2004 with an estimated population of about 645,000 residents. Since then, North Dakota’s population has grown every year, with a total increase of about 94,000 residents.
 
North Dakota’s population has also been getting younger. Census data shows that the median age of North Dakota residents continued to climb between 2000 and 2008, reaching about 37.3 years of age. Since 2008, the median age of North Dakota residents has declined to last year’s 35.3 years of age, making North Dakota the fourth youngest state behind Utah, Alaska and Texas.
 
Additional demographic information will be released by the Census Bureau later in 2015.

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          North Dakota Named Best Run State in Nation for Third Consecutive Year   
By ND Commerce
North Dakota was credited with being the best run state in the nation for a third consecutive year, according to a 24/7 Wall St. study released today. The study looks at data on financial health, standard of living and government services by the state to determine how well each state is managed.
 
“North Dakota has great qualities to offer businesses and workers,” Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. “State and local leaders have worked hard to build an environment that supports business growth and creates a good quality of life for our citizens. It’s great to see this hard work being recognized by 24/7 Wall St for the third consecutive year.”
 
The top five best run states were: North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. The study determines how well states are run by looking at fiscal management, taxes, exports, and GDP growth by sectors, as well as, quality of life components such as poverty, income, unemployment, high school graduation, crime and foreclosure rates.
 
The study states: “People have been flocking to North Dakota: more than 5% of the population in 2013 had migrated from another state or country since 2010. Last year, the state’s GDP rose by 9.7%, the most in the nation. Job growth has also been rapid. North Dakota’s 2.9% unemployment rate was the lowest in the nation last year.”

The full report is available at: http://247wallst.com/

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          Shale Boom Helps North Dakota Bank Earn Returns Goldman Would Envy   
By Wall Street Journal
Displaying WSJ Harmeyer.jpgIt is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a better credit rating than J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and hasn’t seen profit growth drop since 2003.

Meet Bank of North Dakota, the U.S.’s lone state-owned bank, which has one branch, no automated teller machines and not a single investment banker.

The reason for its success? As the sole repository of the state of North Dakota’s revenue, the bank has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the boom in Bakken shale-oil production from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In fact, the bank played a crucial part in kick-starting the oil frenzy in the state in 2008 amid the financial crisis.

When other banks around the U.S. were curtailing lending and increasing reserves, Bank of North Dakota helped smaller banks in the state ride out the crisis by providing them with letters of credit, loan sales and bank stock. Since then, its total assets have more than doubled, to $6.9 billion last year from $2.8 billion in 2007. By contrast, assets of the much bigger Bank of America Corp. have grown much more slowly, to $2.1 trillion from $1.7 trillion in that period.

Much of that growth has been fueled by surging deposits of mineral-rights royalty payments and taxes stemming from North Dakota’s leap from the country’s sixth-largest oil producer to its second largest over the past five years. The bank taps those coffers to extend loans for new businesses, infrastructure such as hospitals and purchases of new homes, all of which have seen increased demand as oil workers flock to the state.

Set up in 1919 under a socialist-oriented government that represented farmers frustrated with out-of-state commodity and railroad owners, the bank treads a fine line between the private and public sectors in what today is a solidly Republican state. It traditionally extends credit, or invests directly, in areas other lenders shun, such as rural housing loans.

The bank’s mission is promoting economic development, not competing with private banks. “We’re a state agency and profit maximization isn’t what drives us,” President Eric Hardmeyer said. At the same time, he said “it’s important to me that we show a respectable bottom line” to taxpayers, noting that the bank historically has returned profits to the state’s coffers.

Its profit, which hit $94 million last year, has grown by double-digit percentages annually since 2010. Return on equity, a measure of profitability, is 18.56%, about 70% higher than those at Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. To be sure, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are much larger institutions with more complex balance sheets.

North Dakotans can open a personal account at the bank’s only branch in downtown Bismarck, the state capital. But the bank offers few of the perks offered by traditional lenders and says retail banking accounts for just 2%-3% of its business. The bank’s focus is providing loans to students and extending credit to companies in North Dakota, often in partnership with smaller community banks.

Bank of North Dakota also acts as a clearinghouse for interbank transactions in the state by settling checks and distributing coins and currency. “We get compared to a little, mini Federal Reserve” on the prairie, said Mr. Hardmeyer, who has led the bank for nearly 14 years.

For years, Bank of North Dakota paid exactly $30 million annually back into the state’s general budgetary fund. But with North Dakota’s coffers flush with oil revenue, the legislature hasn’t requested the payments from the bank since 2010. Its loan book has expanded, but not fast enough to keep up with deposits and retained earnings.

It recently started offering mortgages to individuals in the most underserved corners of the state. But Mr. Hardmeyer dismisses any notion the bank could run into trouble with deadbeat borrowers. “We know our customers,” he said. “You’ve got to understand the conservative nature of this state. Nobody here is really interested in making subprime loans.”

Five years ago, Bank of North Dakota lent about 90% of its deposits, but that ratio shrank to around 60% in 2013.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services last month reaffirmed its double-A-minus rating of the bank, whose deposits are guaranteed by the state of North Dakota. That is above the rating for both Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan and among U.S. financial institutions, second only to the Federal Home Loan Banks, rated double-A-plus.

Lawmakers in a few other states such as Colorado and Maryland have advanced proposals to emulate Bank of North Dakota and set up state-owned lenders in recent years, so far without success. “Last year was a peak in terms of introducing these bills,” said Mathew Street, deputy general counsel at the American Bankers Association. “However many bills have been introduced, none have passed since 1919,” he said.

North Dakota officials hesitate to tout the bank as a model. “We think it’s worked well for us, but only because we’re very careful about how we use it,” said North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

Not all of Bank of North Dakota’s initiatives have succeeded. One misfire in the early 2000s involved financing “Wooly Boys,” a film starring Peter Fonda and Kris Kristofferson. The movie, about a sheep rancher’s family, was a box-office flop. The bank, which had hoped to spark a tourism boom similar to that in South Dakota after the release of the Kevin Costner hit “Dances with Wolves,” wrote off the loss.

Shale Boom Helps North Dakota Bank Earn Returns Goldman Would Envy - The Wall Street Journal

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          Klaus Thiessen Chosen as Economic Developer of the Year    
By ND Commerce
Klaus Thiessen, President and CEO, Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in Grand Forks, has been chosen as the 2014 Governor’s Choice for Economic Developer of the Year. The award ceremony was held in conjunction with the Economic Development Association of North Dakota’s fall meeting in Grand Forks.
 
“Klaus focuses on the fundamentals of economic development and consistently and collaboratively drives projects and initiatives,” Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. “Since he joined the EDC he has been setting the stage for opportunities the region is realizing today. Under his leadership, the region has maintained a focus on new wealth creation that results from primary sector growth.”
 
Since 2004, the EDC’s clients have created more than 1,700 new jobs and the average salary of these clients has increased from $31,000 to more than $51,000. These gains have been realized through the attraction and growth of companies such as Amazon.com, Avianix, Cirrus Design Corporation, JR Simplot Company, LM Wind Power, Northrup Grumman Corporation, NovaDigm Therapeutics, Philadelphia Macaroni Company, Steffes Corporation and Technology Applications Group
 
Prior to joining the Grand Forks Region EDC, Thiessen was the President and CEO of the Winnipeg Economic Development Corporation for 10 years. With over 20 years of economic development experience, Thiessen has also held positions with Touche Ross Management Consultants, Xerox, and Canon. He holds a master of public affairs degree from the University of Manitoba and B.A. from the University of Winnipeg. Thiessen's professional affiliations include: Director of International Economic Development Council in Washington D.C. and past president of the Economic Developers Association of Canada.
 
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
 
For more North Dakota news and information subscribe to the Commerce News RSS Feed or go to www.NDCommerce.com

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           Transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv. Samsun-NN) plants over-expressing a synthetic HRP-C gene are altered in growth, development and susceptibility to abiotic stress    
Heggie, Laura and Jansen, Marcel A.K. and Burbridge, Emma and Kavanagh, Tony A. and Thorneley, Roger N.F. and Dix, Philip J. (2005) Transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv. Samsun-NN) plants over-expressing a synthetic HRP-C gene are altered in growth, development and susceptibility to abiotic stress. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 43 (12). pp. 1067-1073. ISSN 0981-9428
          Land Board Awards $5 Million in Latest Grant Round to Western Schools, Airports   
By ND Governor's Office
The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) awarded about $5 million in energy impact grants to K-12 schools and airports in North Dakota’s oil-production region. During this grant round, the Land Board awarded about $2 million to K-12 schools and another $3 million to airports in western North Dakota to help the region address the impacts of rapid growth.
 
“These grants are an important part of our ongoing commitment to help the oil and gas region meet the challenges the come with strong growth,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, chairman of the five-member state Land Board. “By working together, we are making great progress in western North Dakota, but we know that there is much more work ahead.  We will continue working with local leaders to meet our challenges and build on our progress.”
 
Other Land Board members are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
 
The Land Board approved grants for 13 school districts based on the recommendations of its K-12 school advisory committee, which is made up of school administrators from the state’s oil and gas region. The Land Board followed the committee’s recommendations to give priority to school districts that demonstrated a need for additional assistance since the start of the current school year.  The energy impact grants awarded to schools today include:
  • McKenzie Co. Public School District 1 - $336,000 for construction of additional classrooms, portable classrooms and other school upgrades.
  • Divide Co. Public School District - $274,000 for the development of teacher housing and communications equipment.
  • Stanley Public School District - $246,000 for high school renovations and fire alarm upgrades.
  • Tioga Public School District - $110,000 for high school and elementary school security upgrades.
  • Alexander Public School District 2 - $190,000 for cafeteria renovations.
  • Nesson Public School District 2, Ray, N.D. - $245,000 for modular classrooms and security upgrades.
  • Powers Lake Public School District 27 - $140,000 for teacher housing.
 
The Land Board also awarded $3 million in energy impact grants to support a wide range of infrastructure improvement projects and equipment needs at 10 airports serving western North Dakota.  The grants include:
  • Minot International Airport, $2.06 million towards construction of a new passenger terminal and other improvement projects.
  • Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport, $108,000 to expand the aviation apron and for the design of improved runways and taxiways.
  • Williston’s Sloulin Field International Airport, $122,144 for emergency equipment and an environmental assessment.
  • Bowman Municipal Airport, $207,251 in additional state funding for the construction of a new terminal and fueling station. The state has previously provided $140,000 to support the improvement projects.
  •  Tioga Municipal Airport, $181,805 for planning and design of hangar construction improvements as well as taxiway and apron improvements.
  • Parshall’s Hankins Airport, $141,668 for apron pavement improvements.
 
For a complete list of grants approved today by the Land Board go to: www.nd.gov/energyimpact.
 
In addition to providing $240 million in energy impact grants, the state continues to support the oil and gas region in many other ways. In all, the state will invest about $2.7 billion to support the state’s oil and gas region during the current biennium. The state commitment – more than twice the amount of the previous, two-year funding package of about $1.2 billion – includes funding for highway, county and township road improvements; water supply and water treatment projects and the development of affordable housing. Other state commitments include stationing more Highway Patrol troopers in western North Dakota; enhancements to the region’s court system and funding for dust suppression projects.

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          10 States With the Best Quality of Life   
By USA Today
The United States is one of the world's most prosperous economies, with a gross domestic product that exceeded that of any other country last year. However, a vibrant economy alone does not ensure all residents are well off. In a recent study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), U.S. states under-performed their regional counterparts in other countries in a number of important metrics that gauge well-being.

The OECD's newly released study, "How's Life in Your Region?: Measuring Regional and Local Well-Being for Policy Making," compares nine important factors that contribute to well-being. Applying an equal weight to each of these factors, 24/7 Wall St. rated New Hampshire as the best state for quality of life.

Monica Brezzi, author of the report and head of regional statistics at the OECD, told 24/7 Wall St. considering different dimensions of well-being at the regional level provides a way to identify "where are the major needs where policies can intervene." Brezzi said that, in some cases, correcting one truly deficient measure can, in turn, lead to better results in others.

In order to review well-being at the regional level, the OECD used only objective data in its report, rather than existing survey data. Brezzi noted that current international studies that ask people for their opinion on important measures of well-being often do not have enough data to be broken down by region.

For example, one of the nine measures, health, is based on the mortality rate and life expectancy in each region, rather than on asking people if they feel well. Similarly, another determinant of well-being, safety, is measured by the homicide rate rather than personal responses as to whether people feel safe where they live.

Based on her analysis, Brezzi identified one area where American states are exceptionally strong. "All the American states rank in the top 20% of OECD regions in income," Brezzi said. Massachusetts — one of 24/7 Wall St.'s highest-rated states — had the second-highest per capita disposable household income in the nation, at $38,620. This also placed the state among the top 4% of regions in all OECD countries.

However, the 50 states are also deficient in a number of key metrics for well-being. "With the exception of Hawaii, none of the American states are in the top 20% for health or for safety across the OECD regions," Brezzi said. Minnesota, for instance, was rated as the third best state for health, with a mortality rate of 7.5 deaths per 1,000 residents and a life expectancy of 81.1 years. However, this only barely placed Minnesota among the top third of all regions in the OECD. Similarly, New Hampshire — which was rated as the safest state in the country, and was 24/7 Wall St.'s top state for quality of life — was outside the top third of all regions for safety.

Across most metrics the 50 states have improved considerably over time. Only one of the nine determinants of well-being, jobs, had worsened in most states between 2000 and 2013. Brezzi added that not only was the national unemployment rate higher in 2013 than in 2000, but "this worsening of unemployment has also come together with an increase in the disparities across states."

Based on the OECD's study, "How's Life in Your Region?: Measuring Regional and Local Well-being for Policy Making," 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 states with the best quality of life. We applied an equal weight to each of the nine determinants of well-being — education, jobs, income, safety, health, environment, civic engagement, accessibility to services and housing. Each determinant is constituted by one or more variables. Additional data on state GDP are from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), and are current as of 2013. Further figures on industry composition, poverty, income inequality and health insurance coverage are from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey. Data on energy production come from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and represent 2012 totals.

These are the 10 states with the best quality of life.

10. Wisconsin
  • Employment rate: 74.8% (9th highest)
  • Household disposable income per capita: $29,536 (23rd highest)
  • Homicide rate: 2.72 per 100,000 people (15th lowest)
  • Voter turnout: 73.6% (2nd highest)
Based on nine distinct well-being measures, Wisconsin is one of the top states in the nation for quality of life. Like nearly all top-ranked states, Wisconsin's housing score was quite high. A typical home had 2.7 rooms per person. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of households had broadband Internet access, both among the higher rates nationwide. Residents are also more politically active than people in a majority of states. The state reported a 74% voter turnout rate, better than almost every other state.

9. Washington
  • Employment rate: 67.8% (21st lowest)
  • Household disposable income per capita: $31,307 (16th highest)
  • Homicide rate: 2.55 per 100,000 people (11th lowest)
  • Voter turnout: 65.6% (16th highest)
Nearly four in five Washington residents had broadband Internet access last year, tied with New Hampshire for the highest rate in the country. Washingtonians also enjoy exceptional air quality and a relatively healthy environment. Just 4.1 mg of airborne dangerous particulate matter per cubic meter was recorded in the state, nearly the lowest level of pollution measured. Washington also leads the nation for renewable energy production, with more than 1,012 trillion BTUs produced in 2012, far more than any other state.

8. Maine
  • Employment rate: 72.7% (11th highest)
  • Household disposable income per capita: $28,333 (22nd lowest)
  • Homicide rate: 1.88 per 100,000 people (8th lowest)
  • Voter turnout: 68.6% (9th highest)
Based on OECD metrics, Maine — which advertises itself as "Vacationland" — is far more than merely a tourist destination. Like more than half of the best states for quality of life, Maine received a nearly perfect score for its housing. Maine homes had an average of nearly three rooms per person, more than all but one other state. Spacious households are likely favored by Maine residents as the state's long winter can keep people indoors for long periods. And while heating costs can be a burden, falling U.S. crude oil prices have considerably reduced the financial strain of buying home heating oil, which is more-widely used in Maine than in any other state.

7. Massachusetts
  • Employment rate: 71.3% (14th highest)
  • Household disposable income per capita: $38,620 (2nd highest)
  • Homicide rate: 2.62 per 100,000 people (12th lowest)
  • Voter turnout: 70.8% (4th highest)
Only one state received a higher income score than Massachusetts. Last year, the state's per capita disposable income was $38,620, more than anywhere else in the United States except Connecticut, and among the top 4% of regions reviewed by the OECD across 28 countries. Massachusetts was also a top state for health, with one of the lowest mortality rates, as well as one of the highest life expectancies, at 80.5 years, in the country. However, compared to all country regions measured by the OECD, Massachusetts' score is barely in the top 40% for health.

6. Colorado
  • Employment rate: 71.2% (15th highest)
  • Household disposable income per capita: $30,999 (18th highest)
  • Homicide rate: 2.90 per 100,000 people (17th lowest)
  • Voter turnout: 70.4% (5th highest)
Colorado residents are active participants in local and state politics, and they have among the best accessibility to services. More than 70% of eligible Coloradans participated in elections last year, among the higher rates in the nation. While Colorado's unemployment rate of 7.7% was not particularly good, its economy has grown relatively rapidly in the past two years. A report released earlier this year by the Colorado Secretary of State showed strong numbers of new business filings and predicted future employment gains.

5. North Dakota
  • Employment rate: 81.8% (the highest)
  • Household disposable income per capita: $31,844 (12th highest)
  • Homicide rate: 2.99 per 100,000 people (18th lowest)
  • Voter turnout: 63.9% (19th highest)
Large economic windfalls, like the recent oil boom in North Dakota, do not necessarily improve a state's well-being. A strong economy, of course, still has many benefits. North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate nationwide, at just 3.3%. And 9.0% of the state's workforce was employed in the agriculture and mining industries, more than all but one other state. The energy boom has also led to exceptional growth rates. North Dakota's economic output has grown faster than that of any other state for several years. In addition to benefiting from an economic boom, North Dakota residents are relatively well educated. More than 91% of the state's labor force had completed at least secondary school last year, among the highest rates in the country.

4. Iowa
  • Employment rate: 78.1% (5th highest)
  • Household disposable income per capita: $30,164 (20th highest)
  • Homicide rate: 1.38 per 100,000 people (2nd lowest)
  • Voter turnout: 69.4% (tied, 6th highest)
The OECD rated Iowa better than all but a few states for its jobs climate and safety. Just 5.2% of the workforce was unemployed last year, and the homicide rate — 1.4 per 100,000 — was lower than every state except New Hampshire. Iowa residents also had the benefit of a productive renewable energy sector, with greater production of renewable energy than all but two other states as of 2012. The majority of renewable energy output came from 476 trillion BTUs of biodiesel produced that year, which was more than any other state.

3. Vermont
  • Employment rate: 79.0% (3rd highest)
  • Household disposable income per capita: $30,102 (21st highest)
  • Homicide rate: 1.39 per 100,000 people (3rd lowest)
  • Voter turnout: 63.3% (22nd highest)
Vermont is among the nation's leaders in several well-being measures. State residents are exceptionally well-educated. Nearly 92% of Vermont's workforce had completed at least secondary school last year, nearly the highest rate nationwide. Vermont was one of a handful of states to receive a close to perfect score for housing. With more than three rooms per person, homes tend to be more spacious than those in any other state. Additionally, just 7.2% of residents lacked health care last year, less than half the rate for all Americans, and lower than all but one other state. Based on a recent survey by Gallup, Vermonters are also the most likely Americans to exercise regularly and consume fresh produce daily, which further contributes to the population's good health.

2. Minnesota
  • Employment rate: 77.3% (6th highest)
  • Household disposable income per capita: $32,256 (9th highest)
  • Homicide rate: 1.68 per 100,000 people (4th lowest)
  • Voter turnout: 73.2% (3rd highest)
Minnesota is one of the top states in the nation by a range of well-being metrics. Notably, the state was tied for second best with Vermont for education, as nearly 92% of the labor force had at least a high school diploma. Minnesota was also a top state for health, with a mortality rate of 7.5 per 1,000 residents and a life expectancy of over 81 years, both among the best nationwide. Per capita household disposable income was also quite high at $32,257, ninth best nationwide. Census Bureau figures also indicate Minnesota compares favorably with other states in ensuring residents are living well. The state's poverty rate of 11.2% was among the lowest nationwide in 2013.

1. New Hampshire
  • Employment rate: 77.0% (7th highest)
  • Household disposable income per capita: $34,208 (7th highest)
  • Homicide rate: 1.11 per 100,000 people (the lowest)
  • Voter turnout: 69.4% (tied, 6th highest)
New Hampshire scored better than any other state for quality of life. No state had a lower homicide rate than New Hampshire, where there was just barely a single murder per 100,000 residents. Additionally, New Hampshire was also the top-ranked state for accessibility of services, with 79% of households reporting they had access to broadband, the highest in the United States. Further, New Hampshire ranked among the best states in most other measures considered by the OECD. The Granite State also had the nation's lowest poverty rate in 2013, according to the Census Bureau, at just 8.7% of all residents.

10 States With the Best Quality of Life - USA Today

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          Economic Development: Workforce Campaign Shows Promising Early Results   
By Prairie Business
North Dakota continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the country with literally thousands of jobs available in high-demand industries like health care, technology, construction, energy, agriculture, transportation, engineering, management, retail and many others. We have great schools, family-friendly communities and wide-open spaces with endless options for outdoor recreation, as well as excellent arts, culture and retail opportunities across the state.

The Find the Good Life in North Dakota initiative is a workforce recruitment campaign started by the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation. It is a private/public sector-funded program designed to help solve the greatest challenge facing our business community: workforce development, recruitment and retention. The goal of the program is to attract permanent workers and their families to North Dakota so we have the workforce we need to support our state’s healthy economy and business growth.

The initiative will use a variety of traditional, digital and nontraditional marketing tactics to reach each of the target audiences. Tactics include:

• Paid digital advertising to reach targeted job seekers in other states.

• Visiting military bases, job fairs and college campuses to promote North Dakota and the opportunities available.

• Targeted digital and traditional media in-state to encourage residents to invite their friends and families to move here.

• Educating new North Dakota residents and temporary workers to the benefits of making our state their home.

• Media relations to increase awareness of the opportunities our state has and to enhance the image of North Dakota as an attractive place to live.

The initiative, which launched in March, has shown promising initial results. The FindtheGoodLifeinNorthDakota.com website has attracted over 50,000 unique visitors and JobsND.com has more than 142,000 new users since mid-May. The digital campaign has resulted in over 23 million impressions. We have heard from a number of employers who have hired employees as a direct result of hiring events. Transitioning military has also indicated that they will be looking in the next six to nine months for North Dakota opportunities.

Businesses are asked to consider joining in efforts to improve awareness of North Dakota — our economy, jobs, quality of place and recreational offerings. Companies or individuals in eastern North Dakota interested in donating to the campaign should contact David Williamson at 651-485-8101. In western North Dakota, contact Terry Fleck at 701-223-9768.

 

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          North Dakota to Celebrate National Manufacturing Day October 3   
By ND Commerce
Communities in North Dakota will celebrate National Manufacturing Day October 3 by hosting tours of manufacturing companies and educational facilities. The event is designed to create a better understanding of and expand knowledge about manufacturing as a career choice, and to emphasize the industry’s value to North Dakota’s economy.
 
“Manufacturing is a vital part of North Dakota’s economic success,” Al Anderson, North Dakota Commerce Commissioner said. “Since 2003, North Dakota manufacturing exports grew 169 percent while the national average was a 70 percent increase.”
 
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, manufacturers in North Dakota account for nearly 8 percent of the total output in the state, employing 6 percent of the workforce. Manufacturing compensation is just over 37 percent higher than other nonfarm employers in the state.
 
“Manufacturing Day events in North Dakota are meant for anyone who is curious about modern manufacturing and who would like to know more about what happens in modern-day manufacturing facilities,” Randy Schwartz, center director and chief executive officer of the Dakota Manufacturing Extension Partnership said. “Students, parents, educators, media and civic leaders are encouraged to attend the events.”
 
Manufacturing Day Events in North Dakota:  
 
Dickinson (Public tours) - October 3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
  • Steffes Corporation – Steffes began in the 1940’s as a small manufacturing operation and by 1985 had grown into a steel fabrication business making replacement snowmobile skis, hopper-bottom storage bins, furniture frames, and a variety of custom designed equipment.  They are known as a creative and innovative design company with great career growth opportunities. – Dress code: Business casual (be prepared for an on-site interview, if desired) and NO open toed shoes.    
 
Fargo (Private/Public Tours) - October 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Private Tours
    • Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation is hosting 170 area high school students to tour the following facilities:
      • John Deere Electronic Solutions – John Deere Electronic Solutions leads the industry through innovative design, development, and manufacturing of custom, integrated electronics components.
      • Aggregate Industries – A leading player in the construction industry by producing and supplying a range of construction materials including aggregates, asphalt, ready-mixed concrete and blocks. 
      • Fargo Jet Center / Weather Modification – An award winning aircraft services company and a global atmospheric sciences company committed to continued advances in the fields of weather modification and atmospheric research.
      • Prinsco – Manufacturing and providing innovative water management solutions to increase agricultural production, ensure water quality and promote sustainable systems. Premiere products include a complete line of corrugated plastic pipe and accessories.
 
  • Public Tours - October 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Trail King Industries – Building trailers to serve a wide variety of applications for markets as diverse as construction, agriculture, transportation, waste and recycling, and specialized hauling. Tours are for high school and college students from 8am to 3pm
 
Grand Forks (Public Tours) - October 3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
  • Steffes Corporation – Steffes began in the 1940’s as a small manufacturing operation and by 1985 had grown into a steel fabrication business making replacement snowmobile skis, hopper-bottom storage bins, furniture frames, and a variety of custom designed equipment.  They are known as a creative and innovative design company with great career growth opportunities. – Dress code: Business casual (be prepared for an on-site interview, if desired) and NO open toed shoes.        
 
Jamestown (Public Tours) – October 3 from 9:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
  • UTC Aerospace Systems – One of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defense products.  Tours are 30 minutes and run from 9:45am to 12:45pm. Please RSVP and be pre-screened before September 26th.  Email Holly@growingjamestown.com for details about the requirements and the dress code for the tours.   
 
Wahpeton (Private Tours) - October 22 from 9a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The City of Wahpeton is hosting 203 area high school students to tour the following facilities:
  • Bobcat – A leading provider of compact equipment for global construction, rental, landscaping, agriculture, grounds maintenance, government, utility, industrial and mining markets. 
  • WCCO Belting – World’s largest manufacturer of agricultural rubber belting products: swather canvases, baler belts, tube conveyor belts, die-cut parts and a variety of rubber industrial belting products.    
  • ComDel Innovations – Contract manufacturer excelling in precision component fabrication, molding, tooling and stamping dies, injection molding, metal stamping, assembly operations and metal finishing, integrating all aspects of product development. 
  • Heartland Precision – Provides thread rolling and metal finishing as well as forming and precision machining services to a variety of industries and customers. 
  • North Dakota State College of Science – A 2-year state supported college offering over 80 academic options using hands-on learning and state-of-the-art equipment in partnership with industry leaders. They are providing tours of their educational facility and hosting the students for lunch. 
 
For more information visit www.mfg.com.
 
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
 
For more North Dakota news and information subscribe to the Commerce News RSS Feed or go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          North Dakota: Legendary Among States    
By Gallup

"Oil boom" is probably the first phrase that comes to mind when one thinks about North Dakota. Yet North Dakotans see their state as much more than oil. They are highly satisfied with their schools, their air quality, their ability to find a quality job, and their overall standard of living. In Gallup's comprehensive survey of all 50 states, North Dakota ranks No. 1 on a variety of indicators spanning economics, public affairs, education, the environment, and well-being. In 2014, North Dakota is a complex, thriving state that is adapting rapidly to the economic and social factors that are transforming this population of roughly 725,000 people.
Economics: The State of North Dakota
These findings are based on a special 50-state Gallup poll conducted June-December 2013, including interviews with approximately 600 residents in every state.

North Dakotans are more likely than residents of any other state to say that their state's economic conditions are excellent or good, that the state's economy is getting better, and that they have not lacked money for adequate housing in the last 12 months. In addition, more residents than anywhere else say it is a good time to find a quality job and that their state is a good place for people starting a new business.

To an outsider, the answer seems clear: the North Dakota oil boom has expanded wealth and opportunity to the point that there is a chicken in every pot. To leading officials in North Dakota, the story has its roots in prudent long-term planning statewide that Democrats and Republicans began in the early 1990s. North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple says well before oil was discovered in the Parshall Oil Field in 2006, the state was on its way to economic prosperity. Dalrymple, who served as former Gov. John Hoeven's lieutenant governor, credits his boss with taking these efforts to the next level.

"We needed to get our state economy going," Dalrymple says. "We basically set about creating a state for more opportunities … energy, agriculture, technology, advanced manufacturing, tourism."

In 2000, North Dakota was 38th in personal per capita income, at $25,872. By 2008, that figure had risen to $40,880, or 19th in the nation. According to Andy Peterson, president and CEO of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, the growth in advance manufacturing, value-added food processing, and tourism, in addition to traditional bases such as agriculture, accounted for North Dakota's vaulting ahead of other states. It was only in 2009 that oil became a factor in the state's finances, but the groundwork for a boom had already been laid.

"Oil is a very thick frosting on a very nicely baked cake," Peterson says.

Oil had been found in North Dakota before, but Dalrymple, Peterson, and Al Anderson, North Dakota state commerce commissioner, agree that the volume and velocity of the boom was unexpected. Dalrymple says there were 200,000 barrels a day in 2009, compared with 1 million barrels a day now.

"The rapid evolution of the oil industry was not foreseen," says Anderson.

"We had seen oil booms come and go but now the technology has changed," Peterson says. "We didn't realize how much oil was in the ground. We found ways to extract oil that we could never expect."
In addition to oil, success in agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism are contributing factors to North Dakota's having the lowest unemployment in the U.S. for the past four years. The state has added 116,000 jobs since 2000, a job-growth increase of 35.6%. Net migration in the state is up 12.7% since 2000. This onrush of new jobs and workers has strained the housing market. North Dakota residents are fully aware of this, as 61% say they are satisfied with the availability of affordable housing in their state, one of the lowest in the nation.

Anderson says North Dakota has been building 2,000 to 3,000 new housing units per year and that hotel occupancy has dropped from 95% to 65%, as more houses are being built. Dalrymple says his state is building apartment buildings with controlled rents to meet demand.

"I consider that one of the solvable challenges," Dalrymple says. "We're mostly spending money for infrastructure needs."

North Dakotans Give Their Schools an "A"
North Dakotans are not just satisfied with their economy, however. Across the 50 states, North Dakotans are the most likely to rate their K-12 education as excellent or good, to agree that their schools prepare students to get a good job, and to be satisfied with the education system or schools overall.
Public Affairs: The State of North Dakota
According to the North Dakota officials, there are various reasons for this high satisfaction with education in the state.

"Sheer volume of school districts helps because there are many local school districts," says Peterson. "Schools are more accessible to students and teachers."

Anderson added that "education has always been extremely important to North Dakota," though he would like to see a continued focus on education for STEM jobs, to keep pace with the growth in the state.

In contrast to their mostly positive -- in many cases, nation-leading -- views about the economy and education, North Dakotans exhibit mixed views on the social climate in their state. While residents were first in the nation in saying they were "treated with respect all day yesterday," and "experienced enjoyment a lot of the day yesterday," they reported low levels of their state being a "good place for racial and ethnic minorities" and a "good place for gay or lesbian people," Gallup reported last year that North Dakota has the lowest percentage of residents in the nation who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Social Climate: The State of North Dakota
In offering his view on why his state residents might make these assertions, Dalrymple spoke in general terms about how North Dakota is in a process of evolution.

"There's a tendency for people not being immediately comfortable with new people until they have had a chance to meet them and evaluate them," Dalrymple says. "We're evolving every year and becoming more accustomed to different people and lifestyles."

"We've had a pretty homogenous society in the past," Anderson says. "Ninety percent is probably the white Caucasian split, but minorities are increasing." Anderson added, "I truly believe our rankings will go up. We will adjust and improve. I think it is embraced by the vast majority of people in North Dakota."

Peterson says where North Dakota is located plays a major factor in evaluating newcomers and different lifestyles.

"The rest of the country, especially the coasts, change the pace of life quicker than we do," he says. "Doesn't surprise me that we are slower to change. But I think the state is changing. We reflect the Midwest and I think we're going to change last. But there isn't hostility to these groups. Once you interact with these groups, you realize that people are people."

The North Dakota Experience
North Dakotans are, by and large, satisfied with their state and the direction in which it is going. Certainly the oil boom, after years of strategic economic planning, may be one of the chief contributors to this statewide contentment. North Dakota may now be on the map as an economic power, but it is still a rural state with a large land mass and relatively few residents, with room to grow. Anderson estimated that oil output could rise to 1.7 million barrels per day in the near future. He says North Dakota is now second behind Texas in oil production and that "a few years ago, we saw a 20-year run with oil (but) this can be a 60-year-play."

When asked to sum up the North Dakota experience, each official offered this reflection of the state:
  • Peterson: "The North Dakota experience is one of quiet fortitude and self-reliance, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, equal opportunity for all -- at least in our minds, even if it isn't the case. It is about individual responsibility and self-reliance."
  • Dalrymple: "North Dakota has been discovered. When I travel around the country, people are no longer clueless about what's going on here -- people coming here and investing here -- it's prospering and there are opportunities here."
  • Anderson: "[People] can truly make a difference in North Dakota and they can't necessarily do it everywhere. I've lived in eight states and outside the country. You see a lot of people giving back [in North Dakota]. Our legislators are truly part-time legislators. Everybody matters here and I don't think people get that in a larger community all the time."
North Dakota is evolving -- and its residents are now more positive about their state than any other state in the nation is on economics, well-being, and public affairs.

North Dakota: Legendary Among States - Gallup.com

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          Oil Boom and Housing Bust Alter State-by-State US Spending as North Dakota Soars, Nevada Lags   
By Star Tribune
WASHINGTON — North Dakotans, enriched by an oil boom, stepped up their spending at triple the national pace in the three years that followed the Great Recession. In Nevada, smacked hard by the housing bust, consumers barely increased their spending.

Americans spend the most, per person, on housing in Washington, D.C., and the least in West Virginia.
Those and other figures emerged Thursday from a new annual report from the government that for the first time reveals consumer spending on a state-by-state basis from 1997 through 2012. The numbers point to substantial shifts in the economy since the recession ended. The recession, which began in December 2007, officially ended in June 2009.

Spending jumped 28 percent in North Dakota, the largest gain nationwide, from 2009 through 2012. It surged nearly 16 percent in Oklahoma. The next-largest increases were in South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia.

The changes in spending patterns in North Dakota have been particularly dramatic. Its per-capita spending in 2007, before the recession began, was $32,780. That ranked it 24th among states. By 2012, North Dakota's per-capita spending was $44,029, fourth-highest nationwide. (The figures aren't adjusted for inflation.)

North Dakota has boomed in large part because of a breakthrough drilling technique, known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," that has unlocked vast oil and gas reserves. The state's per-person income soared 37.2 percent, before inflation, from 2009 through 2012, according to a separate report released this year. That's by far the most for any state. North Dakota's unemployment rate was a barely visible 2.7 percent in June, the lowest in the nation.

By contrast, spending eked out a scant 3.5 percent increase in Nevada, the weakest for any state and far below the 10.7 percent national average. Arizona's 6.2 percent increase was next-weakest, followed by Hawaii's, Florida's and Utah's.

When the housing bust struck in 2006, home values plummeted in Nevada, Arizona and Florida. The persistently weak consumer spending in those states underscores the lingering damage the housing bust inflicted on their economies.

Nevada and Arizona also received the smallest income gains in the first three years after the recession ended. Salaries and other income in Nevada rose just 3.8 percent and in Arizona, 6.7 percent. The national average was 11.1 percent.

And Nevada's unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in June, the third-highest. Arizona's was 6.9 percent, 10th-highest.

The government's figures show that state-by-state spending patterns were radically different before the recession. In the three years leading up to the downturn, for example, spending in Arizona jumped 21.2 percent, the fourth-highest in the nation. Big home price gains during the housing bubble likely fueled more spending.

North Dakota's spending growth was only 12th-highest in those years. Spending rose the most in Wyoming, where it surged 24.5 percent, followed by Louisiana and Hawaii.

The report points to wide spending disparities elsewhere in the country. Per-person spending in 2012 was highest in Washington, D.C., at $59,423, followed by Massachusetts at $47,308. The next-highest per-person spending totals were in Connecticut, North Dakota and New Jersey.

Spending was lowest that year in Mississippi, at $27,406. Arkansas was second-lowest, at $28,366.

The government's new report includes figures for specific spending categories. For example, in 2012, consumers spent the most on housing and utilities in Washington, D.C., where per-capita spending reached $11,985, followed by Hawaii at $10,002. Connecticut and Maryland ranked third and fourth. Those figures largely reflect high rents in those areas.

The individual categories of spending data tend to coincide with regional cost-of-living differences. Consumers in Alaska, where food costs are generally high, spent the most on groceries, laying out $3,852 in 2012, followed by Vermont at $3,622, followed by New Hampshire, $3,616, and Hawaii, $3,615.

The cold-weather state of North Dakota led the nation in spending on gas and energy, paying a per capita $3,916 in 2012. Wyoming, South Dakota and Maine spent the next-largest amounts.

Hawaii spent the least, at just $882, followed by New York, Florida and California.
 
"Oil Boom and Housing Bust Alter State-by-State US Spending as North Dakota Soars, Nevada Lags" as reported by www.StarTruibune.com.

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          Land Board Awards Nearly $8 Million to K-12 Schools Impacted By Oil and Gas Development   
ND Governor's Office

The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today awarded nearly $8 million to North Dakota K-12 schools impacted by the rapid growth of oil and gas development in the state. The Board approved 33 projects totaling $7,888,459, giving priority to safety and security needs, teacher housing, temporary portable classrooms to address increased student enrollment and other projects needed in preparation for the upcoming school year.
 
The Land Board allocated $25 million in Energy Impact Grant funds for the 2013-2015 biennium to benefit K-12 schools impacted by the state’s growing energy industry, with $12.5 million designated for each fiscal year. Prior to today’s action, the Board has awarded 65 grants totaling $15,530,000 to K-12 school districts.
 
“K-12 schools impacted by oil and gas development in the state are experiencing significant increases in student enrollment, expanding the need for teacher housing, portable classrooms and other renovations and enhancements to accommodate rapid growth,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, chairman of the state Land Board. “These grants will help our schools address the impacts of increased enrollments and prepare for the upcoming school year.”
 
In addition to Dalrymple, the Land Board includes Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
 
To date, including the grants awarded today, the Land Board has awarded nearly $196 million in state Energy Impact Grant funds and will award a total of $240 million in grants during the 2013-2015 biennium. The grants are used to address a wide range of needs, including enhancements for airports, law enforcement agencies and emergency services; upgrades to county, township and city infrastructure and support for growing schools.
 
In all, the state will invest about $2.6 billion to support the state’s oil and gas region during the current biennium. The state commitment – more than twice the amount of the previous, two-year funding package of about $1.2 billion – includes funding for highway, county and township road improvements; water supply and water treatment projects and the development of affordable housing. Other state commitments include stationing more Highway Patrol troopers in western North Dakota; enhancements to the region’s court system and funding for dust suppression projects.
 
For a complete list of K-12 school projects approved today by the Land Board, go to http://www.nd.gov/energyimpact  

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          2015 Tourism Grant Deadlines Nearing   
By ND Commerce - Tourism Division

North Dakota’s tourism entities have until August 29th to apply for two grants from the North Dakota Department of Commerce and North Dakota Tourism.
 
Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman says the event and marketing grants are important to not only the tourism industry partners who receive the funds, but to the state's tourism industry as a whole, "These funds allow tourism entities to expand their marketing efforts to promote their destination or event.” 
 
Events and Marketing Grant Programs
North Dakota Tourism directly sponsors two grant programs that provide a maximum of $5,000 in matching funds for promotion of regional events and for specific tourism marketing plans.
 
The Events Grant Program provides funds to communities and event promoters wanting to regionally promote their 2015 tourism-related event. Qualifications include:
  •     Must be two or more days in length.
  •     Must be an annual event (no centennial celebrations, etc.).
  •     Must be a unique event (e.g., no Fourth of July, Labor Day, etc., celebrations).
  •     Must have visitor appeal and growth potential.
 
The Marketing Grant Program provides funds to develop marketing materials to promote an experience, activity or place unique to the North Dakota. Qualifications include:
  •     At least 75 percent of marketing activities resulting from the grant must be promotional, focused on providing travel information.
  •     Communication must focus on illustrating unique North Dakota experiences in support of the state’s tourism branding, “North Dakota Legendary,” to maximize brand equity.
  •     Must demonstrate partnerships and regional collaboration in the promotional effort. Applications that package or cross-sell tourism experiences, education vacations and new technology-based marketing programs will be scored higher.
 
Applications for both the Events and Marketing Grant Programs must be received by August 29, 2014. Recipients of approved grants will receive 25 percent of the grant money within 90 days. The remaining 75 percent will be paid following the event or completed marketing project.
 
Applications for all three grants are available at http://www.ndtourism.com/industry/north-dakota-tourism-grants.  For more information on tourism grants, contact Dean Ihla with North Dakota Tourism at 701-328-3505 or dihla@nd.gov

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          Dakotas Lead US in Economic Well-Being for Kids   
By Rapid City Journal


Strong local economies and an oil boom have helped the Dakotas lead the nation in terms of economic well-being for children, according a report released Tuesday by a national children's advocacy group that also says the two states could improve when it comes to education and kids living in poverty.

The annual Kids Count report, published Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranked North Dakota and South Dakota as the top two states for economic well-being, based on data from 2012, the most recent year for which the information is available. This is the third year North Dakota ranks No. 1 in the economic well-being category, which measures the percentage of children in poverty, along with parental employment, housing costs and the number of teens working or in school.

The annual report also looks at statistics on education, health and family and community in each state.

Carole Cochran, the project director for Kids Count South Dakota, said North Dakota's booming oil and gas industry has helped push South Dakota up in the rankings.

"There's certainly an economic impact that is broader than just North Dakota," she said.

Laura Speer, the associate director of policy reform and advocacy at the Casey Foundation, said the Great Plains as a whole have fared better than the rest of the country in recent years in terms of economic development. The other spots in the top five are held by Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.

"It's not necessarily new," Speer said. It's just that "the states in the Great Plains seem to have weathered the recession a bit better than other states have."

But despite a strong economic showing, organizations in both North Dakota and South Dakota stressed that the number of children living in poverty — particularly Native American children — and measures of educational readiness are troublesome.

The percentage of children in North Dakota — 13 percent, or about 20,000 — who are living below the poverty line is the lowest in the nation, but has remained stagnant, said Karen Olson, the project manager for North Dakota Kids Count at North Dakota State University.

"Despite that rapid growth in North Dakota's economy, that poverty rate has not changed in 12 years," she said.

Olson also said there are significant disparities within the state. About half of Native American children in North Dakota live in poverty.

In South Dakota, 17 percent of children, or about 35,000, live below the poverty line. Speer said American Indian children in the state fare worse in terms of education and poverty than any other group in the country.

"So, certainly, when you look at the state level, when you look across the Plains, kids are doing really well at the economic well-being measures — at the median — but it's not the case for all kids," she said.

In both states, most children ages 3 and 4 are not enrolled in preschool. About 64 percent of children in North Dakota — 5th worst in the nation — are not enrolled in preschool, which research shows can improve school readiness and help at-risk children. In South Dakota, about 62 percent of children are not attending preschool.

Dakotas Lead US in Economic Well-Being for Kids - rapidcityjournal.com



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          APUC Committed Funding Requests Totaling $284,673.50   
By ND Commerce

The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) awarded funding requests for eight projects totaling $284,673.50 at its quarterly meeting July 22nd at the Rough Riders Hotel and Conference Facility in Medora.
 
APUC is a committee of the North Dakota Department of Commerce that administers grant programs for researching and developing new and expanded uses for North Dakota agricultural products. The grants can be used for basic and applied research, marketing and utilization, farm diversification, nature based agri-tourism, prototype and technology, and technical assistance.
 
The following requests were awarded:
 
Morning Joy Farm (Mercer) was awarded $26,250 for consideration in a farm diversification enhancement to their existing operation. The enhancement would utilize farm products to meet consumer demand for ready-to-eat foods and baked goods by building a commercial kitchen. Contact Annie Carlson at 701-447-2649 for additional information.
 
Buchholz Machine Shop (Lehr) was awarded $26,250 to transform a milk barn into a machine shop as well as purchasing a vertical milling machine to produce parts for area manufacturers. This will allow them to produce and promote their own products, which include an ice auger extension piece. Funds will be used for equipment and building materials. Contact Todd Buchholz at 701-321-2936 for additional information.
 
NDSU Dept. of Veterinary and Microbiology Sciences (Fargo) was awarded
$76,140 to defray costs associated with the purchase of supplies for the development and testing of a program to prevent illness from bacterial infectious from the transmission of bacteria to food processing equipment. Biofilm (communities of bacteria that attach to surfaces and one another) inhibitors will be infused into materials that are relevant in agricultural contexts, which can then be used for food processing equipment to prevent the transmission of pathogens. Funds will also partially support the salaries of the project personnel. Contact Dr. Birgit Pruess at 701-231-7848 for additional information.
 
Golden Growers Cooperative (Fargo) was awarded $75,000 for costs associated with a valuation study and market assessment for current and potential food ingredients, feed and renewable chemicals that can be produced or utilize from a corn wet mill facility.
It will also estimate the value of a corn wet mill based under various future market conditions. Contact Scott Stofferahn at 701-281-0468 for additional information.
 
NDSU Dept. of Animal and Range Sciences (Fargo) was awarded $50,000 to continue studying the role of nutrition in mammary cancer development. The study will investigate the effect of dietary canola oil and lipotropic nutrients in breast cancer development and growth. Over the years their research has shown the anticancer effect of lipocan nutrients. This innovative concept is aimed at the development of an anticancer nutraceutical product. Contact Dr. Chung Park at 701-231-7670 for additional information.
 
Crocus View Farms (Rock Lake) was awarded $5,407 to expand services and products by reaching out to provide educational and informative rural development programs to community groups. Services include the selling of baked goods, produce from garden, eggs, pumpkins, fall pumpkin patch picking, corn maze, hands-on animal experiences, bale climbing and many other rural environmental activities. Contact Carie
Moore at 701-303-0143 for additional information.
 
Red River Regional Council (Grafton) was awarded $28,361 to conduct a feasibility study that will calculate a cost benefit analysis of the Power Plant at the Life Skills and Transition Center (LSTC).  Ongoing development of the Power Plant will provide electricity, thermal output, and CO2 sequestration to power, heat, and enhance plant growth for future greenhouses and crop production.  Contact Dawn Keeley at 701-352-3550 for additional information.
 
The following project was awarded full funding with contingencies:
 
Amberland Foods Inc. (Harvey) was awarded $23,515 to make improvements to their products and create safer working conditions for employees. Providing nutritional information for their products will increase potential business opportunities by allowing them to approach health conscious customers, distributors, chains and specialty stores that require this type of labeling. Contact Tami Feist at 701-324-4804 for additional information.
 
The next APUC board hearing will be held November 20, 2014 in Carrington.  Applications for the November meeting must be received by October 1st.  Prototype and Technical Assistance grants must be received by September 1st.
 
For additional program information please visit North Dakota APUC at
www.NDAPUC.com or “LIKE” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NDAPUC

 

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          Future Job Openings in State Expected to be Broader Mix   
By The Bismarck Tribune
 

New job projections for North Dakota are indicating a shift back to the state’s core industries as oil exploration steadies in the next 10 years.

The oil industry in North Dakota has indicated that as the Bakken matures, job openings will be less focused on temporary exploration positions and more focused on permanent production related positions. As that happens, North Dakota Job Service says, more of the state’s open jobs will be in the service sector.

“It’s going to take somewhat fewer people for production versus exploration,” said Michael Ziesch, manager of the Labor Market Information Center for Job Service.

Ziesch said job growth has started to come full circle. Those industries requiring larger numbers of employees are becoming the ones with the most job openings again and the types of job openings match the state’s pre-oil boom economy more closely.

“Every other major industry is posting increases,” he said.

According to the 2012-22 Long-Term Employment Projections Report, statewide there will be a predicted 1,879 open positions for retail salespeople, 1,792 open positions for food service workers, 1,635 open positions for registered nurses, 1,363 open positions for bookkeepers and 1,227 open positions for janitors.

In the 2010-20 Long-Term Employment Projections Report, the top five occupations for number of open positions were truck drivers, wellhead pumpers, oil, gas and mining service unit operators, office clerks and retail salespersons. Each of those had projected openings of 6,150, 2,483, 2,472, 2,165 and 1,960, respectively.

Many of those now listed as the top five occupations for numeric job growth match those listed in the Job Service report produced in 2008.

Wayde Sick, director of the North Dakota Department of Commerce workforce division, fields calls from non-residents considering moving to North Dakota for work. He said when they do call, they are often calling about oil field jobs. But the department is making an effort to inform them of opportunities statewide.

“It’s not just the oil field or truck driving. It’s across the board,” said Sick of job openings in the state.

Ziesch said in terms of job growth the northwest will continue to do well but so will North Dakota’s urban centers, like Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks.

Ziesch said only 35 percent to 40 percent of job openings are in oil=producing counties. Companies in Cass and Burleigh counties, respectively, posted 1,649 and 378 more online job openings in June 2014 than they did in June 2014, according to Job Service data.

“That speaks to the importance of the out-of-state job seeker,” Ziesch said, adding that many living in the state are already employed and will be vacating positions if they choose to fill one of the new job openings.

When it comes to job openings that are new openings rather than past jobs that need to be replaced, the office support, food service and health care industries are projected to have the most, with each of those industries having more than 5,000 new openings statewide by 2022.

New job openings in the construction and extraction industry and the transportation industry also will have nearly 5,000 new openings a piece but the ratio of new openings to replacement openings is much less than what was projected in the 2010 report.

New openings in those industries were projected to be more than 10,000, according to the 2010 report. The total projected openings in each of those industries are also expected to be much less. Projected openings in construction and extraction are at 14,475 in the 2012 report compared to 18,839 in the 2010 report. For transportation those numbers are 13,792 openings compared to 21,485 openings.

Ziesch said this indicates a transition from more specialized occupations to a balance of new openings in all occupations across the state. He said, of those non-oil related careers, the online job openings report indicates employers and potential employees alike are looking for management related careers.

To attract workers to the state for reasons other than an oil related career, North Dakota Tourism Division is using its “Find the Good Life in North Dakota” campaign to show the whole picture of employment in the state.

Sara Otte Coleman, director of tourism, said the campaign has started by focusing on those workers transitioning from military to civilian life and looking for jobs.

State employees have been to about three military job fairs so far, Otte Coleman said. Each job fair has a focus. Of those attended, one in Texas focused on logistics and heavy equipment careers. Another in Indiana focused on managerial employment.

“In most cases we’re looking to get a family unit,” Otte Coleman said, adding when families come there are spouses and children who may be available to fill those service sector entry level positions expected to be available.

Future Job Openings in State Expected to be Broader Mix - bismarcktribune.com



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          APUC to Review Funding Requests Totaling $304,808    
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) will review funding requests for eleven projects totaling $304,808 at its quarterly meeting July 22nd at the Rough Riders Hotel and Conference Facility in Medora.
 
APUC is a committee of the North Dakota Department of Commerce that administers grant programs for researching and developing new and expanded uses for North Dakota agricultural products. The grants can be used for basic and applied research, marketing and utilization, farm diversification, nature based agri-tourism, prototype and technology, and technical assistance.
 
The following requests will be reviewed:
 
Amberland Foods Inc. (Harvey) is requesting $23,515 to make improvements to their products and create safer working conditions for employees. Providing nutritional information for their products will increase potential business opportunities by allowing them to approach health conscious customers, distributors, chains and specialty stores that require this type of labeling. Contact Tami Feist at 701-324-4804 for additional information.
 
Morning Joy Farm (Mercer) is requesting $26,250 for consideration in a farm diversification enhancement to their existing operation. The enhancement would utilize farm products to meet consumer demand for ready-to-eat foods and baked goods by building a commercial kitchen. Contact Annie Carlson at 701-447-2649 for additional information.
 
Buchholz Machine Shop (Lehr) is requesting $26,250 to transform a milk barn into a machine shop as well as purchasing a vertical milling machine to produce parts for area manufacturers. This will allow them to produce and promote their own products, which include an ice auger extension piece. Funds will be used for equipment and building materials. Contact Todd Buchholz at 701-321-2936 for additional information.
 
NDSU Dept. of Veterinary and Microbiology Sciences (Fargo) is requesting $76,140 to defray costs associated with the purchase of supplies for the development and testing of a program to prevent illness from bacterial infectious from the transmission of bacteria to food processing equipment. Biofilm (communities of bacteria that attach to surfaces and one another) inhibitors will be infused into materials that are relevant in agricultural contexts, which can then be used for food processing equipment to prevent the transmission of pathogens. Funds will also partially support the salaries of the project personnel. Contact Dr. Birgit Pruess at 701-231-7848 for additional information.
 
Golden Growers Cooperative (Fargo) is requesting $75,000 for costs associated with a valuation study and market assessment for current and potential food ingredients, feed and renewable chemicals that can be produced or utilize from a corn wet mill facility. It will also estimate the value of a corn wet mill based under various future market conditions. Contact Scott Stofferahn at 701-281-0468 for additional information.
 
NDSU Dept. of Animal and Range Sciences (Fargo) is requesting $50,000 to continue studying the role of nutrition in mammary cancer development. The study will investigate the effect of dietary canola oil and lipotropic nutrients in breast cancer development and growth. Over the years their research has shown the anticancer effect of lipocan nutrients. This innovative concept is aimed at the development of an anticancer nutraceutical product. Contact Dr. Chung Park at 701-231-7670 for additional information.
 
Crocus View Farms (Rock Lake) is requesting $5,407 to expand services and products by reaching out to provide educational and informative rural development programs to community groups. Services include the selling of baked goods, produce from garden, eggs, pumpkins, fall pumpkin patch picking, corn maze, hands-on animal experiences, bale climbing and many other rural environmental activities. Contact Carie Moore at 701-303-0143 for additional information.
 
NDSU Dept. of Agribusiness and Applied Economics (Fargo) is requesting $22,246 to facilitate a study to develop a supply schedule for flax straw delivered to a torrefaction facility located in southeast North Dakota. Results of the study will be validated and complemented by meetings and a mail survey to potential flax growers and flax straw suppliers. Grant funds will also be used for faculty to oversee the project.  Contact Juan Murguia at 701-231-6640 for additional information.
 
For additional program information please visit North Dakota APUC at www.NDAPUC.com or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NDAPUC.
 

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          Fargo 2.0: It’s Not Like the Movie   
By Seattle Times


Growing up here, Greg Tehven heard all the jokes.

“When I’d tell people I was from Fargo, I would get laughed at. It was almost as if other cities bullied us,” said Tehven, 29, a self-appointed community booster and co-founder of Emerging Prairie, a network of local entrepreneurs and startups.

It was bad enough when the movie “Fargo” came out two decades ago. Now it’s back as a TV show, and this time, the gap between the Fargo on screen — the one with the woodchipper — and the city that surrounds him is galling.

Tehven’s Fargo is the five-block radius of downtown; a vibrant community of artists, tech entrepreneurs, college kids and possibilities. Once hollowed out, the downtown is now crowded with coffee shops, restaurants and quirky shops that draw in crowds of strolling pedestrians and cyclists.

Tehven’s Fargo is one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities.

Newcomers are pouring into the Fargo-Moorhead region, pushing its borders outward, filling the schools to capacity, but still not filling all its 5,700 current job vacancies.

Neighboring West Fargo has built so many new schools, they hold contests to come up with names. Fargo itself, population 109,000, now sprawls across 48 square miles, a footprint the size of Boston.

“You feel like you died and went to heaven,” said James Gartin, president of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp. — the man in charge of encouraging economic growth in a place now ranked as the best place in America to find a job, the country’s third-safest community and its fourth-fastest growing metro region.

“It’s electric,” Gartin said. “It’s just an incredible time to be in this market. Not only with the business growth, but we have this incredible entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

These are boom times for all of North Dakota, as western oil fields bring in money and jobs at a staggering rate. The unemployment rate is near 2 percent and there’s so much revenue rolling in, the Legislature has cut taxes by $2.4 billion since 2009, yet the state still has a $500 million surplus.

The Bakken oil fields are 400 miles northwest of here, and while the region benefits from the oil boom, most of its prosperity is coming from within. The largest employers in town are the health-care companies, the region’s many universities, the banks and the tech companies, led by Microsoft.

Beyond the five-block core of downtown, Fargo levels out into a sprawl of neighborhoods and businesses, with more going up every day; 2,700 new housing permits have been issued this year.

Plenty of towns talk about revitalizing their downtowns. Fargo is actually doing it, thanks to the happy combination of a good economy, a thriving business climate and motivated residents.

“We’re building the kind of city we want to live in,” Tehven said.

The rebirth of Fargo started with one building, and one man determined to save it.

When Doug Burgum sold his Great Plains Software to Microsoft more than a decade ago, he turned his time and resources to invest in the neglected downtown.

He started with a dilapidated old school-supply building that was about to be razed for a parking lot. In 2000, the city paid Burgum $100,000 to take it off its hands.

Burgum refurbished the building and donated it to North Dakota State University. Today, it’s Renaissance Hall and houses the university’s architecture department.

Other developers stepped forward to renovate other buildings.

“People ask, ‘What’s left to do?’ ” Burgum said. “I tell them we’re just getting started.”

The downtown is an attractive city center with amenities that can make the difference in attracting new businesses and workers.

“Value what makes your community distinctive. Don’t try to look like everyone else,” said Thomas Fisher, dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota.

The two largest demographic groups in America today are the baby boomers and the millennials, born between the 1980s and 2000s.

Both groups, Fisher said, are being drawn to downtown living, often for the same reasons — they want the entertainment, shops and amenities you can walk to, unlike the sidewalk-free sprawl of the suburbs.

Fargo is a city of networkers. One person will notice that the downtown alleys could use some sprucing up, and in short order Alley Fair gets created, with volunteers fanning out over town to fill vacant alleys with art, plants and light. It can feel like the city has a downtown-improvement flash mob.

“Fargo is filled with really talented, creative, hardworking people that care,” Tehven said. “And we’re having the time of our lives.”

Fargo 2.0: It’s Not Like the Movie - seattletimes.com



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          Oil Is The New Gold: Inside North Dakota’s Oil Rush   
By Time

North Dakota is now producing more than one million barrels of oil a day, part of a modern gold rush that holds both promise and uncertainty for the future of the state.

Oil production statistics released by the state’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) revealed that the state produced 1,002,445 barrels per day in April 2014, up from 793,832 the year before. The new statistics mean that North Dakota now joins the ranks of Texas, Alaska, California and Louisiana- the only states to ever generate more than one millions barrels per day. (Texas is the only other one still producing that amount.)

North Dakota expects its production to climb: the DMR predicts oil production to peak at 1.5 million barrels per day around 2017.

This tracks a broader, national trend, as well: This year U.S. oil field production outpaced imports by about one million barrels a day.

Sudden turnaround
Just five years ago, North Dakota was producing less than 200,000 barrels a day. Alison Ritter, public information officer for the oil and gas division of the DMR, traces the beginning of the oil boom to the 2006 discovery of the Parshall Oil Field on the Bakken formation, the oil-rich shale rock material under the western part of the state. Using a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracking,” workers initially extracted an impressive 463 barrels a day from the discovery well. “It wasn’t the first time this was used [in North Dakota],” Ritter says of the drilling strategy, “But it was the first time it was used well.”

Since then, North Dakota’s economy has exploded. The state now has the fastest growing economy in the U.S. and the lowest unemployment rate: 2.6% compared to a national average of 6.3%, according to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number is well below that in Williston, the town at the heart of the oil rush, which has an unemployment rate of less than 1%.

People eager to cash in on the boom have been flocking to Williston for years; the town’s population has doubled since 2010. Housing prices are skyrocketing, and construction is struggling to keep pace with the population. In the first quarter of 2013, Williston issued nearly $72 million in building permits, more than twice the amount during the same period of 2012.

Incomes in the town match the rising real estate prices- in 2014, Walmart hired entry-level workers in Williston at a staggering $17.40 per hour to compete with the salaries people can fetch on the oil fields.
“In some ways we would have had more trouble with this had the national economy been good when this started,” says Tom Rolfstad, executive director of Williston Economic Development. “We’ve benefitted. Going into this we were worried about where we were going to get workers… but because of the national recession, we have workers coming from everywhere and we have investors coming in from everywhere looking to invest.”

Growing pains
Yet the steady stream of hopeful workers into the small town means that, even with high wages, many are stuck living temporary housing facilities sprouting up in the Bakken oil region while they wait for more permanent housing to be built.

“They’re not as bad as people think,” Rolfstad says of the facilities, often called man camps. “They’re more like a college dormitory. But we realize that this is going to be a long-term proposition, so we’re more about trying to do things permanently than temporarily. We’re really trying to build a city that has quality and not just quantity.”

North Dakota also needs to expand refining facilities to accommodate the flood of oil. The state currently has only one refinery, capable of refining 68,000 barrels a day. Though two more refineries are in the works, for now most of the oil is shipped via railway and pipeline to other refineries south and east of the state.
But with all the excitement of new growth comes downsides, as well. Williston schools are overcrowded and emergency services are strained. Meanwhile, the character of the town and the state are changing. “When you go to a restaurant now, you might wait in line to get in and wait in line again to pay,” says Rolfstad. “These are big city things we’ve never experienced before.”

Oil Is The New Gold: Inside North Dakota’s Oil Rush - time.com

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          Dalrymple Appoints Giesen to Direct Job Service North Dakota   
By Insurance News Net

Gov. Jack Dalrymple today appointed Cheri L. Giesen the executive director of Job Service North Dakota. Giesen will lead the state's workforce agency which has about 250 employees throughout the state and a two-year budget of nearly $80 million. Giesen will begin leading Job Service in early July.

"Cheri's strong leadership skills and her extensive experience with information technology systems will be a tremendous asset to the citizens and businesses served by Job Service North Dakota," Dalrymple said. "As we continue to benefit from the nation's strongest economy, the lowest unemployment rate and steady business growth, the workforce assistance provided by Job Service has never been more important.

"This challenging position requires a proven leader and a strong background in computer systems which are key to the agency's labor market information services, workforce services and the administration of the unemployment insurance program. Cheri brings the right skill sets and expertise to lead Job Service, and I am confident she will help us meet the dynamic workforce needs of a growing and prosperous North Dakota," Dalrymple said.

Giesen has more than 20 years of experience in organizational management and information technology. Between 1992 and 2005, she served in management positions in several state agencies, including Job Service. Giesen directed major technology projects and managed statewide information systems while working for the North Dakota Attorney General's office, the North Dakota Supreme Court, and the North Dakota Department of Transportation. For six years, Giesen directed the information technology department at Job Service. In that role, she oversaw the management of Job Service's statewide information systems, assisted in developing yearly strategic plans and executed operational strategies. Since 2005, Giesen has worked for Basin Electric Cooperative where she supervised the management of information systems and assisted in the coop's restructuring of information technology strategies and systems to better serve customers.

Giesen earned a Master's Degree in business management and a Bachelor of Science degree in computer information systems and accounting from the University of Mary.

"I want to thank Governor Dalrymple for having the confidence in me to be the next executive director of Job Service North Dakota," Giesen said. "I am excited to be working with Job Service staff again as they truly define servant leadership. I am honored to work with all of the Job Service partners in order to meet the workforce needs during this incredible time of economic growth throughout North Dakota."

During today's appointment, which was announced in the state capitol, Dalrymple also thanked Darren Brostrom who has served as interim executive director of Job Service North Dakota since Nov. 1, 2013, following the resignation of former executive director Maren Daley.

"Darren is a dedicated member of the Job Service team and we very much appreciate the outstanding job he's done leading the agency during this transitional period," Dalrymple said.

Dalrymple Appoints Giesen to Direct Job Service North Dakota - insurancenewsnet.com



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          North Dakota's Economic Growth Outpaces All Other States for Fourth Consecutive Year    
ND Governor's Office
For the past four years, North Dakota's economy has continued to outpace all other states, according to information released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Factors driving the state’s robust economy include continued growth in economic production, new jobs and rising wages.
 
North Dakota's gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of total economic production, increased 9.7 percent last year to top economic growth among all states for the fourth straight year.  Mineral resources, including oil and gas extraction and coal mining, contributed 3.6 percent to North Dakota’s GDP growth.
 
“It’s very encouraging that our continued economic growth stems from nearly every business sector and that no single industry tells the whole story of the great progress we’re making,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “Moving forward, we will continue to support economic growth through low taxes, a sensible and effective regulatory environment and a state government that is responsive to the needs of its people and businesses.”
 
In 2013, North Dakota’s economy produced a record $49.8 billion.  In the past four years, North Dakota’s economy has averaged an annual growth rate of about 12 percent compared to the national economy’s growth rate of 2 percent.
 
Wyoming produced the nation’s second strongest state economy in 2013, with a growth rate of 7.6 percent. The nation’s GDP growth rate slowed to 1.8 percent last year, after increasing 2.5 percent in 2012, the BEA reports.
 
North Dakota’s continued economic growth is reflected in many areas of commerce including manufacturing, agriculture, the energy industry, construction, transportation, wholesale trade, retail trade and the finance and insurance sectors. 
 
Other statistics that detail the state’s economic progress include:
  • North Dakota has created 116,600 net jobs since 2000.
  • North Dakota’s per-capita personal income of $57,084 represents the strongest income growth in the nation. In 2000, North Dakota’s per-capital personal income ranked 38th in the nation. Today, North Dakota’s personal income ranks second among all states.
  • The state continues to have the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, at just 2.6 percent.
The BEA report can be viewed at www.bea.gov.

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          North Dakota Again Leads Nation in Housing Growth   
By ABC News
 

North Dakota's oil boom fueled the fastest housing growth in the nation for the third consecutive year, government figures show, even though it is still hard to find a place to live in some towns.

Census Bureau statistics released Thursday show that in the year to July 2013, North Dakota added 10,207 housing units — a growth of 3.1 percent. That far outstripped the national average growth rate of 0.3 percent and was the fastest in the nation.

Williams County in the state's western oil patch showed more housing development than any other county in the country according to the census data. The number of housing units there grew by 15.6 percent in the year to July 2013, and 40 percent over a three-year period.

Five of the top ten counties in the nation for housing growth were in North Dakota — Williams, Stark, Ward, Morton and Burleigh.

"North Dakota's strong economy is fueling development across the state that includes a major expansion of new housing for residents of all income levels," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple in a statement. "We will continue working with private industry to expand our housing opportunities throughout the state, especially in communities experiencing rapid growth."

North Dakota's building boom follows the rapid expansion of oil production, which has drawn tens of thousands of workers, lured by high-paying jobs and the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

Every day, more people arrive at the Amtrak station in downtown Williston with backpacks slung over their shoulders hoping to find work.

Williston, the seat of Williams County, has been the fastest-growing micropolitan area — with a population of more than 10,000 but less than 50,000 — in the country for several years.

Many oil patch workers live in man camps, which are pre-fabricated structures which can look like military barracks. Others live in sprawling trailer parks, sleep in cars or even tents. Some companies rent blocks of hotel rooms for employees to live in.

Housing developments are constantly popping up in big areas of town that didn't exist on maps a couple of years ago. But they are still not enough to keep pace with demand and oil money has pushed rents to among the highest in the nation: a simple one bedroom apartment in Williston can easily cost $2,000 a month in rent. Even a spot to park a trailer can cost over $800 per month.

While the oil boom has given state officials plenty of numbers to brag about — such as high economic growth rates, per capita income growth and low unemployment — it has also spawned some negative statistics.

In 2012, North Dakota had the highest worker death rate in the nation with 17.7 fatalities per 100,000 employees, according to AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor federation.

North Dakota Again Leads Nation in Housing Growth - abcnews.com



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          North Dakota Continues to Lead the Nation in Housing Development   
By ND Governor's Office
For the third year in a row, North Dakota has developed new housing at a faster rate than any other state in the nation. North Dakota added 10,207 new housing units last year, the nation’s strongest growth rate at just over three percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released today.
 
“North Dakota’s strong economy is fueling development across the state and that includes a major expansion of new housing for residents of all income levels,” Dalrymple said. “We will continue working with private industry to expand our housing opportunities throughout the state, especially in communities experiencing rapid growth.”
 
At 3.1 percent growth, North Dakota’s rate of housing development was 10 times greater last year than the nation’s average of 0.3 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
 
North Dakota also led the nation in the percentage of housing development in 2012 and 2011. In the past three years, North Dakota has added about 22,000 new housing units, said Kevin Iverson, manager of the state Census Office.
 
            North Dakota’s Housing Incentive Fund is one of several tools used to facilitate the development of affordable housing throughout the state. This biennium, the program will leverage $150 million in construction financing to create 922 housing units, with 214 set aside for low-to-moderate income households and for those who provide essential community services in energy impacted communities. The state’s support for greater housing development also includes $12 million in Flex PACE buydown funds for residential construction.
 
Several North Dakota counties ranked among the nation’s top 100 in housing growth. The U.S. Census Bureau’s ranking includes: 
#1     Williams County – 15.6 percent increase with 1,984 new housing units.
#2     Stark County – 13.5 percent increase with 1,545 new housing units
#4     Ward County – 5.1 percent increase with 1,474 new housing units
#8     Morton County – 4.5 percent increase with 570 new housing units
#10   Burleigh County – 3.7 percent increase with 1,376 new housing units
#18   Cass County – 2.7 percent increase with 1,899 new housing units
#73   McLean County – 1.6 percent increase with 89 new housing units
#93   Grand Forks County - 1.4 percent increase with 404 new housing units
 

 

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          Innovate ND Business Competition Deadline Approaching   
By ND Commerce
The Innovate ND business competition for entrepreneurs will be held May 30th at 9 a.m. at Great River Energy located at 1611 East Century Avenue in Bismarck. All submission for the competition must be made by May 23rd.
 
“This new Innovate ND business competition for entrepreneurs is designed to capitalize on previous successes and brand development efforts, and move to the next level in helping entrepreneurs grow their business,” Jared Stober entrepreneurship program manager at the North Dakota Department of Commerce said. “The competition has $21,000 available for this year’s participants.”
 
The pitch competition will allow each participant one minute to present their business idea. A two-page executive summary will be required to enter the pitch competition.
 
The idea competition will provide an opportunity for startups to compete based on their business idea. This will also serve as a starting point for Innovate ND participants to gain feedback for their idea and serve as a launch pad to take their idea to the next level.
 
The venture competition is targeted toward businesses that are ready for venture capital or at an advanced stage. Innovate ND works with venture capital and angel investment firms to create potential opportunities to make a business deal during the competition.
 
The Innovate ND program costs $250 and offers the opportunity to access up to $2,500 worth of services to help in the development of business ideas through access to multiple resources. For more information visit: www.InnovateND.com.
 
The Innovate ND business competition is part of an expanded program focused on fostering innovation and accelerating venture formation/growth in North Dakota. Since 2006, Innovate ND has served over 450 entrepreneurs, startups, and early-stage ventures by providing a comprehensive educational program and coaching through entrepreneurial centers to help entrepreneurs build new ventures.

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          Affordable Workforce Housing Construction Begins in Minot   
By ND Housing Finance Agency
Beyond Shelter, Inc. (BSI), the Minot Housing Authority and North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) broke ground today for Fieldcrest Apartments, a development that will bring affordable workforce housing to northeast Minot.

Depending on income and family size, the Fieldcrest units will rent for $400 to $804 per month. Nine apartments in the development are reserved specifically for Essential Service Workers – individuals employed by a school, medical facility or government agency deemed an essential public service.

“Ensuring that citizens impacted by rapid growth and flood recovery have access to affordable housing is a top priority for our state,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. “This project is an important infrastructure investment for the Minot area, providing affordable housing for those on fixed incomes and for employees who provide essential services for the community.”

The total cost of constructing Fieldcrest is estimated at $8.3 million with the state providing more than $6 million to support the project. The development received a $2.3 million Housing Incentive Fund (HIF) commitment from NDHFA and an interest rate buy-down through Bank of North Dakota’s (BND) Flex PACE Affordable Housing Program. The North Dakota Industrial Commission, consisting of Dalrymple as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees NDHFA and BND. The development also received a $3.76 million Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG DR) grant administered by the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

“Beyond Shelter’s mission is to improve communities by developing housing for those most in need,” said Lynn Fundingsland, BSI CEO. “Without these layers of financial support, our organization would not be able to build housing that rents at affordable levels.”

“NDHFA is charged with ensuring that everyone in North Dakota has access to affordable housing,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. “We will continue to work with the Industrial Commission members to address the needs of the state’s growing communities.”

HIF provides low-cost financing to developers that create affordable rental housing. The program is capitalized in part by taxpayer contributions that can be directed to specific projects. American Bank Center, Bremer Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo all made contributions to support Fieldcrest.

Flex PACE is designed to assist in the financing of affordable multi-family housing.

The CDBG program provides financial assistance for public facilities, housing and economic development projects. In addition to the dollars provided by the State, the City of Minot granted $750,000 of its CDBG DR funds to BSI to acquire the Fieldcrest site. An additional $100,000 of the city’s CDBG DR funds was used for off-site sanitary sewer extension work.

The 42-unit apartment complex will be located at 500 36th Ave NE in Minot. BSI anticipates that construction will be completed by June 2015.

A nonprofit developer of affordable housing based in Fargo, ND, BSI has partnered with like-minded organizations to develop more than 654 affordable residential units in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. BSI will break ground on 191 new units in 2014.

NDHFA is a self-supporting state agency that finances the creation and rehabilitation of affordable housing across North Dakota.
 

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          Officials Launch National Find the Good Life in North Dakota Workforce Recruitment Campaign   
Sanford Health and Scheels each invest $50,000 to support the campaign

Fargo, N.D. – Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley and Wally Goulet, North Dakota Economic Development Foundation (NDEDF), officially launched the state’s national workforce recruitment campaign. The Find the Good Life in North Dakota campaign is aimed at attracting skilled workers from around the country to fill the state’s current and future workforce needs.
 
Wrigley cited the April Online Job Openings Report to emphasize the importance of the campaign. According to the report, there were 25,653 open jobs in North Dakota in April, the highest number of jobs ever listed in the state.
 
“The demand for skilled workers in North Dakota has never been higher,” said Wrigley. “And the need is not just in the Bakken, it’s statewide. In fact, the largest demand for skilled workers is right here in Cass County.”
 
Find the Good Life in North Dakota is targeting skilled workers in health care, energy, transportation, information technology, construction, STEM-related fields and many others. The campaign will run in states with high unemployment and under employment rates to raise awareness of the myriad of opportunities and great quality of life available in North Dakota.
 
Wrigley added, “It’s estimated that 250,000 service men and women will be exiting the armed forces in the coming years. These men and women who valiantly served their country bring exceptional skills and work ethic to the civilian job market. We want them to start their next career in a state with excellent career opportunities and a great quality of life.”
 
“Now that our state is making real progress on infrastructure issues like housing, roads and schools, the foundation believes the time has come to begin also aggressively recruiting the skilled labor our state needs to succeed today and into the future,” said Goulet.
 
The campaign will use a targeted, multi-pronged marketing campaign that includes:
  • Digital advertising targeting job seekers in states with an available workforce with the skill sets we need in North Dakota and high levels of under and unemployment. The campaign will primarily target 15 states: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
  • Digital advertising and on-the-ground events targeting veterans and current military members who will soon be transitioning out of the military.
  • In-state print and digital advertising targeting North Dakotans and asking them to invite their friends and family to find the good life here.
  • A regional and national public relations campaign to raise awareness of North Dakota as a great place to live and work.
  • A web portal (www.findthegoodlifeinnorthdakota.com) where job seekers can find the information they need to make a new life in North Dakota, including active links to the North Dakota Job Service employment listings.
  • Tools to help communities and companies retain existing North Dakota workers and residents.
 
According to Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota Department of Commerce, “The new workforce recruitment website is key to the Find the Good Life in North Dakota campaign’s success. The website will act as an information hub for jobseekers so they can easily learn about career opportunities, housing, training and fun things to see and do in North Dakota.”
 
Sanford Health and Scheels each invests $50,000 in campaign  
 
In addition to the campaign launch, Paul Richard, president, Sanford Fargo Medical Center, presented the NDEDF with a $50,000 check as an investment in the Find the Good Life in North Dakota campaign.
 
“Today, North Dakota is seeing unprecedented population growth, which increases the need for health care in communities across the state and the demand for skilled health care workers,” Richard said. “Our ability to attract and retain this workforce is essential to achieving our organization’s mission and why Sanford Health is supporting the Find the Good Life in North Dakota campaign,”
 
It was also announced that Scheels has signed on as a partner and invested $50,000 in the Find the Good Life in North Dakota campaign.
 
“North Dakota has been blessed with the best economy in the nation,” said Steve Scheels, president, Scheels. “If we are to keep the keep this economy on track, North Dakota must attract and retain the skilled workforce business needs to take full advantage of the opportunities our state offers.”
 
For more information about Find the Good Life in North Dakota, visit www.findthegoodlifeinnorthdakota.com

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          New Innovate ND Business Competition Announced   
The North Dakota Department of Commerce today announced the launch of the new Innovate ND business competition for entrepreneurs. The competition will be held May 30th starting at 9 a.m. at Great River Energy located at 1611 East Century Avenue in Bismarck.
 
“It is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in North Dakota,” Jared Stober entrepreneurship program manager at the North Dakota Department of Commerce said. “This new Innovate ND business competition for entrepreneurs is designed to capitalize on previous successes and brand development efforts, and move to the next level in helping entrepreneurs grow their business.”
 
The competition has $21,000 available for this year’s participants. All prize money will be pooled, with $1,000 allocated for a one minute pitch competition, $5,000 allocated for an idea competition and $15,000 allocated for a venture competition.
 
The pitch competition will allow each participant one minute to present their business idea. A two-page executive summary will be required to enter the pitch competition.
 
The idea competition will provide an opportunity for startups to compete based on their business idea. This will also serve as a starting point for Innovate ND participants to gain feedback for their idea and serve as a launch pad to take their idea to the next level.
 
The venture competition is targeted toward businesses that are ready for venture capital or at an advanced stage. Innovate ND works with venture capital and angel investment firms to create potential opportunities to make a business deal during the competition. All submission for the competition must be made by May 23rd.
 
The Innovate ND program costs $250 and offers the opportunity to access up to $2,500 worth of services to help in the development of business ideas through access to multiple resources. For more information visit: www.InnovateND.com.
 
The Innovate ND business competition is part of an expanded program focused on fostering innovation and accelerating venture formation/growth in North Dakota. Since 2006, Innovate ND has served over 450 entrepreneurs, startups, and early-stage ventures by providing a comprehensive educational program and coaching through entrepreneurial centers to help entrepreneurs build new ventures.

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          Governor Discusses State's Population Growth with U.S. Census Bureau Director   
Gov. Jack Dalrymple today met with U.S. Census Bureau Director John Thompson to discuss the state’s population growth and changes, and options for continuing to work together to increase the quality of data production. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, North Dakota is the nation’s fastest-growing state. Thompson is visiting North Dakota to see firsthand the rapid growth that is occurring in all regions of the state.
 
“After years of out-migration and population decline, North Dakota is now the fastest-growing state in the nation, recording population growth in all regions of the state,” Dalrymple said. “We are pleased that Director Thompson has come to North Dakota to learn more about our rapid growth and to see firsthand the exciting things that are occurring as a result of that growth.”
 
During their meeting, Dalrymple and Thompson discussed the state’s impressive reversal in population trends, moving from being one of a few states reporting population decline to leading the nation in growth across all regions of the state. Dalrymple highlighted North Dakota’s aggressive economic development efforts, and emphasis on job creation and the diversification of its economy as reasons for the rapid growth. The Governor and Director also discussed the impacts of a growing population and the historic investment the state is making to address those impacts, as well as how the state and the Census Bureau can continue to work together to increase the quality of data production.

“Census Bureau statistics have been telling an ongoing story of North Dakota’s rapid population growth and the industries driving it,” Thompson said. “I’m meeting with Governor Dalrymple and other state, tribal and local leaders to ensure they have access to the statistics to help plan for the changes that come with that growth. It is exciting to see this growth first-hand and gather the information necessary to make decisions about how to best measure the state’s population.”
 
This past December, U.S. Census Bureau estimates showed that North Dakota’s population reached an all-time high of 723,393 residents, an increase of 22,048 from the previous year’s estimate. Earlier this year, the Bureau’s annual metropolitan/micropolitan area and county population estimates showed population growth across all regions of North Dakota. The state had a number of communities and counties ranked as some of the fastest growing in the nation. A metro area contains a population of 50,000 or more, while a micro area contains at least 10,000, but less than 50,000.
 
Of the nation’s 10 fastest growing metropolitan areas, Fargo and Bismarck ranked fourth and fifth respectively. The Fargo metro area (Cass and Clay Counties) gained 6,705 residents, while the Bismarck metro area gained 3,666 residents. Three of the top five micro areas ranked as the nation’s fastest growing are in North Dakota, with Williston taking the top spot. Dickinson ranked second on the list and Minot rounded off the top five as the fifth fastest growing micro area.
 
In addition to metro/micro areas, two North Dakota counties ranked among the nation’s fastest growing counties with a population of 10,000 or more. Williams County was ranked as the fastest growing county in the nation and Stark County was ranked as the fourth.
 
Dalrymple and Thompson also discussed how North Dakota’s in-migration has been increasing over the past few years and has been the most significant factor in the state’s population growth since the 2010 Census. The estimated net in-migration to North Dakota was 6,900 in 2011, 12,717 in 2012 and 18,051 in 2013. 
 
The Governor cited how North Dakota’s population has been getting younger. Census data shows that the median age of North Dakota residents continued to climb between 2000 and 2008, reaching about 37.3 years of age. Since 2008, the median age of North Dakota residents has declined to last year’s 36.1 years of age.
 
North Dakota continues to lead the nation in job growth, with an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent for March, the nation’s lowest. Currently, more than 25,000 jobs are available across the state, with a majority of those openings in Cass County.
 
 

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          Governor Encourages Advancement of State’s Proven Business Development Strategies    
by ND Governor
Gov. Jack Dalrymple today spoke to business leaders and state and local officials who gathered for the Governor’s Business Forum in Grand Forks to discuss policy issues and ideas for continuing to strengthen North Dakota’s business climate and stimulate business success. Dalrymple highlighted the state’s economic growth, job creation and expansion of targeted industries, and encouraged attendees to identify innovative ways to advance North Dakota’s proven business development strategies for future growth and opportunity.
 
“Exciting things are happening in North Dakota and that is due in large part to our aggressive economic development efforts and commitment to building a business climate that fosters innovation and growth,” said Dalrymple. “It is important that we continue to strengthen our business environment so we can sustain that growth well into the future. This Forum is a great opportunity for business leaders and state and local officials to share their ideas for visionary policies and strategies.”
 
In addition to providing the Forum’s keynote presentation, Dalrymple participated in a panel discussion about property tax reform. The Governor was joined by Senator Dwight Cook, chair of the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee, and Michael Montplaisir, auditor for Cass County. Dalrymple provided an overview of the mission of the Task Force on Property Tax Reform that he chairs and an update on the task force’s goals and progress after holding several meetings.
 
Following the Forum, Dalrymple attended a meeting with the Grand Forks Region Base Realignment Impact Committee (BRIC), a committee that serves as an interface for the public and private sectors as the region advances current and future missions of the Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB). The committee reviewed with the Governor the base retention strategy for 2014-2017 and provided an update on the Grand Sky Business Park and the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site.
 
Last session, the state provided $3 million to support BRIC’s efforts, with $2.5 million for an Enhanced Use Lease project to establish an aviation business park on the GFAFB and $500,000 for base retention grants.

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          North Dakota Census Estimates Show Statewide Population Growth   
North Dakota Communities, Counties Ranked Among Nation’s Fastest Growing

The U.S. Census Bureau today released the agency’s annual metropolitan/micropolitan area and county population estimates showing population growth across all regions of North Dakota. The state had a number of communities and counties ranked as some of the fastest growing in the nation. A metro area contains a population of 50,000 or more, while a micro area contains at least 10,000, but less than 50,000.
 
“After years of out-migration and population decline, North Dakota is now recording population growth in all regions of the state, with a number of communities and counties ranked among the fastest growing in the nation,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. “Our investments in economic development and job creation are paying off in big ways, creating career opportunities for North Dakotans and attracting new workers to the state.”
 
Of the nation’s 10 fastest growing metropolitan areas, Fargo and Bismarck ranked fourth and fifth respectively. The Fargo metro area (Cass and Clay Counties) gained 6,075 residents, while the Bismarck metro area gained 3,528 residents. Three of the top five micro areas ranked as the nation’s fastest growing are in North Dakota, with Williston taking the top spot. Dickinson ranked second on the list and Minot rounded off the top five as the fifth fastest growing micro area.
 
In addition to metro/micro areas, two North Dakota counties ranked among the nation’s fastest growing counties with a population of 10,000 or more. Williams County was ranked as the fastest growing county in the nation and Stark County was ranked as the fourth.
 
“The growth was wide spread across all regions of the state with 38 of the state’s 53 counties gaining population,” said Kevin Iverson, manager of the Census Office at the North Dakota Department of Commerce. “This is a major turnaround from just a few years ago when only a handful of counties experienced growth and the majority experienced yearly declines in population.”
 
In-migration in North Dakota has been increasing the past few years and has been the most significant factor in the state’s population growth since the 2010 Census.  The estimated net in-migration to North Dakota was 6,900 in 2011, 12,717 in 2012 and 18,051 in 2013.  These figures do not include a substantial number of individuals who work in North Dakota, but maintain residency out of state.
 
“The change has been dramatic,” said Iverson. As recently as 2007, North Dakota had been experiencing a net out-migration. 
 
“North Dakota’s economic strength is continuing to attract new workers into the state,” said Al Anderson, North Dakota Commerce Commissioner. “The fact of the matter is that North Dakota is attracting new residents across the entire state for good jobs and a stable economy.”
 
The population data is a breakdown from the Census Bureau’s state and national population estimates released in December 2013. The Census Bureau reported that North Dakota’s population has reached 723,393 residents, an all-time high.
 
The full report is available at: http://www.census.gov/ 
 

 

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          Dalrymple Touts North Dakota's Strong Economy at Forbes Reinventing America Summit   
By ND Governor
Gov. Jack Dalrymple today attended the Forbes Reinventing America Summit in Chicago and spoke to attendees about the strength of North Dakota’s economy and how the state is leading the nation in economic growth, job creation and the expansion of targeted industries. Dalrymple was invited to address the summit by Forbes publisher and North Dakota native, Rich Karlgaard.
 
“Exciting things are happening in North Dakota and the nation is taking notice,” Dalrymple said. “We have a strong message of growth and innovation, and I enjoyed bringing that message to the summit as an example of what can be done across the country.”
 
During his remarks, the Governor highlighted some of the state’s economic milestones and rankings, including recent reports that name North Dakota a leader in both personal income and population growth.
 
Dalrymple stated that for the sixth time in the last seven years, North Dakota has recorded the strongest personal income growth among all states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The state’s average personal income increased 7.6 percent last year, while the nation averaged 2.6 percent growth. The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that population growth is being reported in all regions of the state and that a number of North Dakota communities and counties ranked among the nation’s fastest growing.
 
The Forbes Reinventing America Summit is a first-of-its-kind event bringing together industry executives, entrepreneurs, academics and elected officials who are leading the next revolution of innovation and opportunity in the country. Joining Dalrymple as speakers were Steve Forbes, Forbes Media; Bill Ford, Ford Motor Company; Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; David Cote, Honeywell; and Sam Zell, Equity Group Investments.
 

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          North Dakota’s Personal Income Growth Continues to Outpace all Other States   
By ND Governor

BISMARCK, N.D. – For the sixth time in the last seven years, North Dakota has recorded the strongest personal income growth among all states, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported today.
 
North Dakota’s average personal income increased 7.6 percent last year while the nation averaged 2.6 percent growth. Utah ranked second in the nation with 4 percent growth in personal income, according to the BEA. 
 
“These latest statistics are more evidence that our efforts to create jobs and career opportunities are getting results,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “We are enjoying economic growth in all regions of the state and our income growth stems from nearly every business sector.”
           
North Dakota’s average, per-capita personal income increased to $57,084 last year, more than double the state’s per-capita income of $25,592 in 2000.   North Dakota’s 2013 overall income level is the second highest in the nation and 128 percent of the national average, according to BEA statistics.

The BEA report shows that North Dakota’s income growth is tied to many business sectors including agriculture, construction, energy development, manufacturing and retail trade.
 
The complete BEA report is available at http://www.bea.gov/index.htm
 



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          Land Board Awards $8 Million, Pledges another $3 Million to Support Construction of a New High School in Watford City   
By ND Governor


The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today awarded an energy impact grant of $8 million to Watford City and the McKenzie County Public School District for street, water and sewer infrastructure that will support the construction of a new high school and residential development.  The Land Board also committed to providing another $3 million in grants next year to help cover the utility construction costs.

“These state funds will support the construction of critical infrastructure that will accommodate the building of a new high school and other development in Watford City,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, chairman of the five-member Land Board. “We will continue working with local officials in the state’s oil and gas region to address the dynamic challenges of rapid growth.

Other board members are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt. The Land Board voted unanimously in favor of awarding the grant funds to Watford City and the local school district.



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          North Dakota Economic Development Foundation Announces New Workforce Recruitment Campaign   
By North Dakota Economic Development Foundation
Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation today announced a new workforce recruitment campaign aimed at attracting a permanent private-sector workforce to meet the growing needs of North Dakota’s robust economy. The “Find the Good Life in North Dakota” campaign will use targeted marketing and event strategies to attract potential new residents to North Dakota.
 
The campaign will emphasize the career opportunities available in North Dakota and promote the qualities that make North Dakota a great place to live, work and raise a family. It is being developed to target people in states with chronic unemployment, and people in industries that are high-demand in North Dakota, including: engineering, healthcare, energy, skilled trades, transportation and information technology.
 
“We have been working hard to grow our economy and create jobs, and those efforts have paid off in big ways as North Dakota leads the nation in economic and job growth,” said Wrigley. “To sustain that growth, we need to ensure that the jobs we are creating are filled with highly-skilled workers, and this campaign is a tremendous opportunity to expand our workforce and promote the quality of life that North Dakota has to offer.”
 
The campaign is also placing an emphasis on attracting veterans and active military transitioning to civilian life and employment. It is estimated that 250,000 service men and women will be exiting the armed forces in the coming years and the campaign will invite them to start their next career in North Dakota.
 
“Find the Good Life in North Dakota” is a public-private partnership led by the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation. The State of North Dakota has provided $400,000 in matching funds to launch the project. “Find the Good Life in North Dakota” is set to launch in May 2014.
 
Steve McNally, Hess Corporation’s general manager of the company’s North Dakota operations, presented the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation with a $400,000 check as an investment in the “Find the Good Life in North Dakota” campaign. “Like many businesses, Hess is faced with tremendous workforce needs,” said McNally. “We want to hire workers who, like us, believe in the exciting opportunities North Dakota has to offer.”
 
“We’re a state with great schools, friendly people, supportive and safe communities, arts and entertainment, tremendous outdoor recreation and, of course, great job opportunities,” said Wally Goulet, chair, North Dakota Economic Development Foundation. “In the end, our goal is to ensure our state has the workforce it needs to take full advantage of the opportunities we have all worked so hard to create and foster.”
 
The North Dakota Economic Development Foundation is charged with helping the governor and Department of Commerce develop and execute strategies that improve our state’s competitiveness and increase economic growth.
 

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          North Dakota Ranks First in Job Creation for Fifth Straight Year   
By ND Governor
For the fifth consecutive year, The Gallup Job Creation Index has ranked North Dakota the nation’s best state for creating jobs.
 
“The fact that North Dakota continues to lead the nation in job growth is a testament to the hardworking people and the innovative business leaders all across our state,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “Our well established economic development strategies are getting results and we will continue to do our part to create jobs, further diversify our economy and enhance the quality of life that makes North Dakota a very special place.”
 
Gallup’s Job Creation Index is a measure of net hiring. The index shows that employees in North Dakota were most likely to report that their employers were hiring workers rather than letting workers go. The state's resulting +40 score on Gallup's Job Creation Index was the best by a significant margin over any other state. Gallup also reports that its Job Creation Index has a strong connection to states’ standard of living. States with higher Job Creation Index scores tend to have higher standard-of-living scores.
 
The findings are based on more than 200,000 interviews with employed adults during 2013 and conducted as part of Gallup's Daily Tracking Poll. Interviewees were asked whether their companies are hiring workers and expanding the size of their labor forces, not changing the size of their workforces, or laying off workers and reducing their workforces. The complete report is available at: http://www.gallup.com/home.aspx.
 

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          APUC to Review Funding Requests Totaling $545,822   
The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) will review funding requests for seven projects totaling $545,822 at its quarterly meeting. This review is scheduled for February 20th at the Choice Financial – Community Board Room in Grafton.
 
APUC is a committee of the North Dakota Department of Commerce that administers grant programs for researching and developing new and expanded uses for North Dakota agricultural products. The grants can be used for basic and applied research, marketing and utilization, farm diversification, nature based agri-tourism, prototype and technology, and technical assistance.
 
The following requests will be reviewed:
 
Woodshed Renewables, LLC (Finley) is requesting $87,593 to defray costs to fund a detailed market research to verify and pinpoint the potential customer base; fund the marketing campaign to launch pre-market activity to include market literature, trade show attendance, packaging design and prototyping, website development and promotions. Contact David Fiebelkorn at 701-524-1150 for additional information.
 
Cummings Ag Inc (Buxton) is requesting $58,069 to assist in funding for the implement the marketing plan developed by Anchor marketing which includes:  new branding, new website, radio and print advertising, digital advertising (Google and other online sources), and several trade shows to break the new services of Cummings Ag Inc, into the marketplace. Contact Tracy Bjerke at 701-847-3125 for additional information.
 
NDSU Dept of Vet and Micro Sciences (Fargo) is requesting $83,765 to defray costs for research to increase understanding of microorganism’s heat resistance in various low moisture environments.  Research will protect the food industry from the negative effects of pathogenic contamination and food recalls. Contact Dr. Teresa Bergholz at 701-231-7692 for additional information.
 
NDSU – North Central Research Center and Plant Sciences (Minot/Fargo) is requesting $66,850 to help research for enhancement of the grape germplasm currently available to North Dakota wineries and provide new grape varieties capable of adapting to the cold climates of the state and producing high quality wine.  Funds will be utilized for salaries, supplies, travel, and greenhouse rental fees. Contact Harlene Hatterman-Valenti at 701-231-8536 for additional information.
 
NDSU Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (Fargo) is requesting $82,345 to help cover costs of the development and commercialization of LaurusTech Industries devices and technologies could propel the company to market these devices to benefit ND agriculture and other industries, to safely improve the efficient handling of commodities and create job growth in the state.  Grand funds will be used to perform research and implement improvements to the current generation product to allow it to be used in hazardous locations such as grain handling facilities. Contact Rob Sailer at 231-5347 for additional information.
 
NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center (Carrington) is requesting that $35,200 will explore the potential for bioremediation of marginal and saline regions using industrial beets, while utilizing the product as a livestock feed. The grant funds will be used to support agronomy research technicians and student assistants to carry out the day-to-day tasks of the research.  Funding will also supports research materials and supplies, soil and leaf sample analysis, travel to the off-station locations and meetings to present the results. Contact Mike Ostlie at 701-652-2951 for additional information.
 
Bio-Sunn (Garrison) is requesting $132,000 to defray costs associated with conducting a final feasibility and market studies necessary to apply for USDA, State and private financing to construct a landmark plant in Walhalla, ND.  The plant will manufacture ethanol, gas methane, waste stream by-products, flax composites and treeless paper products. Contact Thomas Chuckel at 602-234-5383 for additional information.

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          Land Board Awards $5 Million in Latest Grant Round to Law Enforcement Agencies   
By ND Governor
The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today awarded about $5 million in state grants to support sheriff offices and other local law enforcement agencies in North Dakota’s oil-production region.  The Land Board also awarded about $100,000 in grant funds to law enforcement agencies that are serving growing populations throughout the state.

Since July, the Land Board has awarded about $15.3 million to support local law enforcement agencies in western North Dakota. The funding is part of a $240-million state grant program created during the last Legislative session to help address the impacts of rapid growth in western North Dakota.

“These law enforcement funds concentrate on meeting immediate safety needs by putting peace officers on the road, appropriately trained, properly equipped and affordably housed,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said. “I am confident we will be able to show legislators that these critical funds have been wisely invested and are already showing results in investigating criminal activity and prosecuting criminals.”

Gov. Jack Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member Land Board. Other board members are Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt. The Land Board voted unanimously in favor of awarding the law enforcement grants.

“These grants are part of a larger strategy to help our local officials and community leaders address the challenges that come with growth,” Dalrymple said. “With the Energy Impact Fund, we can tackle a wide range of challenges. We continue to make significant progress, but we recognize that the impacts from rapid growth are very dynamic and we must always be prepared to adapt our response to meet the region’s needs.”

The law enforcement grants approved by the Land Board today will support sheriff offices, police departments, states attorney offices and regional law enforcement task forces. The state funding will also support domestic violence assistance programs, family crisis assistance and child advocacy. The grants will help pay for patrol vehicles; mobile fingerprint scans that provide immediate identification; portable scales for weight enforcement; funding for housing allowances; funding to hire additional officers, victim advocates and other public safety personnel as well as training, police safety gear and other equipment. For a complete list of law enforcement grants approved today by the Land Board go to www.nd.gov/energyimpact

State funding appropriated to support the region’s law enforcement agencies and other emergency responders during the 2013-2015 biennium includes:
• $9.6 million for Attorney General grants to law enforcement agencies.
• $7 million in Energy Impact Grant funds for sheriffs’ departments.
• $7 million for emergency medical service providers.
• $3.5 million for fire protection districts.
• $9.6 million for critical access hospitals.

In all, the state will invest about $2.6 billion to support the state’s oil and gas region during the 2013-2015 biennium.  The state’s 2013-2015 commitment – more than twice the amount of the previous, two-year funding package of about $1.2 billion – is being used to address a wide range of needs in western North Dakota, including:  highway, county and township road improvements; water supply and water treatment projects; the development of low-to-moderate income housing and assistance for growing school districts. Other state commitments include stationing more Highway Patrol troopers in western North Dakota; enhancements to the region’s court system and funding for dust suppression projects.

 

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          U.S. Census Bureau Estimates 18,000 Individuals Migrated to North Dakota in 2013   
The U.S. Census Bureau today released estimates that show approximately 18,000 people migrated into the state in 2013. This compares to an estimated net migration into the state of 12,200 in 2012 and 6,900 in 2011.
 
“These figures reaffirm that a majority of the growth in 2013 came from in-migration,” Kevin Iverson, manager of the Census Office at the North Dakota Department of Commerce said. “The change is most dramatic when compared to data ten years ago. Between 2000 and 2003 North Dakota had lost approximately 8,400 residences. We were last of the 50 states in terms of growth a decade ago. After those years of out-migration, it’s great to see that our economic growth is drawing individuals to the state.”
 
The U.S. Census Bureau’s information takes into consideration components of population change such as births, deaths and migration. North Dakota had 10,028 births and 5,754 deaths last year.
 
Census data released last month showed North Dakota’s population reached an estimated all-time high of 723,393 residents, an increase of 22,048 from last year’s count. Last year, North Dakota’s estimated 2012 population of 699,629 residents exceeded the state's record Census count set in 1930.
 
North Dakota’s population has also been getting younger. Census data shows that the median age of North Dakota residents continued to climb between 2000 and 2008, reaching about 37.3 years of age. Since 2008, the median age of North Dakota residents has declined to 36.1 years of age.
 
The full report is available at: http://www.census.gov/ 
 
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.

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          New Innovate ND Program Launched   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Department of Commerce today announced the launch of the new Innovate ND program for entrepreneurs. The expanded program focuses on fostering innovation and accelerating venture formation/growth in North Dakota.
 
“It is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in North Dakota,” Entrepreneurship Program Manager at the North Dakota Department of Commerce Jared Stober said. “This new program is designed to capitalize on previous successes and brand development efforts, and move to the next level in helping entrepreneurs grow their business. The new features announced today are designed to help people with innovative ideas build a business no matter what stage they are at.”
 
Since 2006, Innovate ND has served over 450 entrepreneurs, startups, and early-stage ventures by providing a comprehensive educational program and coaching through entrepreneurial centers to help entrepreneurs build new ventures.
 
New Innovate ND Features include:
  • Innovate ND Vouchers – When signing up with Innovate ND each participant initially receives up to $2,500 that can be used to advance their business.  The $2,500 voucher may be used for coaching and consulting services at an entrepreneurial center, creating a business plan or developing a prototype.  Additional vouchers are available for businesses who meet established criteria. For more information please visit one of the five entrepreneurial centers in ND.
 
  • Educational Services - Innovate ND will offer multiple educational services to build a strong foundation for entrepreneurs to start their venture.  Entrepreneur Boot Camps will be held in the spring and fall of each year and an online class is available upon sign up for Innovate ND.  The educational services address key topics and Innovate ND participants can attend at any stage in their business development. The educational content is valued at over $2,200.
 
  • Online Resources - The new Innovate ND website, which is still in development, will serve as a resource to entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their business. Visitors will have access to new content and an online forum to help build their entrepreneurial resources and contacts.
 
  • Business Competitions – Innovate ND will hold an annual competition in the spring of each year.  There will be two categories for participants to compete; an Idea competition and a Venture Competition. The Idea Competition will provide an opportunity for startups to compete based on their business idea. This will also serve as a starting point for Innovate ND participants to gain feedback for their idea and serve as a launch pad to take their idea to the next level. Innovate ND will also hold a Venture Competition targeted toward businesses that are ready for venture capital or at an advanced stage.  Additional details about the competition will be available at a later date.
 
“A key to future success in North Dakota is fueling innovation and nurturing entrepreneurs who help build the businesses of tomorrow,” Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. “The capacity to innovate and grow entrepreneurs increasingly separates regions that are growing from those that are not.”
 
The new Innovate ND program costs $250 and offers the opportunity to access up to $2,500 worth of resources to help in the development of business ideas through access to multiple resources. For more information visit: www.InnovateND.com or visit one of the following entrepreneurial centers.
 

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           Drifting together or falling apart? The empirics of regional economic growth in post-unification Germany    
Colavecchio, Roberta and Curran, Declan and Funke, Michael (2005) Drifting together or falling apart? The empirics of regional economic growth in post-unification Germany. CESIFO WORKING PAPER (1533). pp. 1-24.
          Acquisition of Precision Systems   
August 6, 2009 VersaTech Automation Services, LLC is pleased to announce that it has purchased the assets of Precision Systems, LLC, a thirteen year old automation and controls company headquartered in the New Orleans area. The acquisition of Precision Systems fits well with VersaTech’s strategic growth initiative and provides us with a top quality control system […]
           The Welfare Implications of Growth Regressions    
O'Neill, Donal (2005) The Welfare Implications of Growth Regressions. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)
          20 ปีต้มยำกุ้ง: อภิชาต สถิตนิรามัย มรดกเศรษฐกิจและการเมืองจากวิกฤตปี 40   

สำรวจมรดกทางเศรษฐกิจและการเมืองที่วิกฤตต้มยำกุ้งเมื่อ 20 ปีก่อนยังคงฝากไว้แก่สังคมไทย ผ่านการศึกษาของ ‘อภิชาต สถิตนิรามัย’ โดยเฉพาะเมื่อมรดกทางเศรษฐกิจที่ครั้งหนึ่งเคยพยุงเศรษฐกิจไทย ถึงวันนี้กำลังจะดับ

วันที่ 2 กรกฎาคม 2540 หรือเมื่อ 20 ปีที่แล้ว อาจนับได้ว่าเป็นการเริ่มต้นของวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจครั้งใหญ่สุดของประเทศไทย-วิกฤตต้มยำกุ้ง มันเป็นวันประกาศลดค่าเงินบาทและเพียงไม่นานค่าเงินบาทก็อ่อนค่าลงอย่างรวดเร็ว ธุรกิจจำนวนพังทลายลงเหลือเพียงซากปรักหักพัง

ผ่านมา 20 ปี ความทรงจำเจ็บปวดในอดีต กับบางคนยังจำได้ขึ้นใจ วิกฤตต้มยำกุ้งไม่เพียงทิ้งรอยแผลไว้กับผู้คน แต่ยังทิ้งมรดกไว้กับเศรษฐกิจไทยจวบจนปัจจุบัน มรดกที่ครั้งหนึ่งเคยเป็นตัวช่วยขับเคลื่อนเศรษฐกิจ และปัจจุบันมันกำลังจะหมดเรี่ยวแรง

เศรษฐกิจ: มรดกเครื่องยนต์ที่กำลังดับ

อภิชาต สถิตนิรามัย จากคณะเศรษฐศาสตร์ มหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์ ผู้ทำการศึกษาและเขียนงานวิชาการเกี่ยวกับวิกฤตต้มยำกุ้ง กล่าวกับประชาไทว่า การเติบโตทางเศรษฐกิจของไทยในอดีตพึ่งพิงการลงทุนในประเทศสูง พูดได้ว่าเศรษฐกิจของไทยขึ้นอยู่กับตัวเรามากกว่า ทว่า การลงทุนที่สูงเกินไปนั้นเองที่ทำให้เกิดวิกฤต เพราะประเทศไทยลงทุนมากกว่าศักยภาพที่มีอยู่ กล่าวคือลงทุนมากกว่าเงินออมที่มี ทำให้ต้องกู้ยืมเงินจากต่างประเทศ จนมีภาระหนี้ต่างประเทศสูง

เป็นสภาพการณ์ที่เดินตามโมเดลการเติบโตทางเศรษฐกิจของไทยตั้งแต่ยุคจอมพลสฤษดิ์ ธนะรัชต์ คือการลงทุนโดยมีรัฐและเอกชนเป็นตัวนำ ไม่ว่าจะเป็นการลงทุนของไทยหรือต่างประเทศ การเติบโตเป็นตัวนำการลงทุน อภิชาตเรียกว่า เป็น Investment let Growth แต่ภาพนี้ก็แปรเปลี่ยนหลังวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจเป็น Export let Growth หมายความว่าเศรษฐกิจของประเทศจะเติบโตได้ก็ขึ้นกับว่าจะส่งออกได้มากหรือไม่

เครื่องยนต์ในการนำเศรษฐกิจของไทยเปลี่ยนตัว แต่ก่อนเครื่องยนต์ที่เป็นตัวนำคือการลงทุน ซึ่งส่วนใหญ่เป็นของเอกชน หลังวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจกลายเป็นการส่งออก

“ในทางเศรษฐกิจ มรดกหลัง 20 ของวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจ คือมันทำให้เศรษฐกิจไทยพึ่งพิงการส่งออกสูงมาก จากเดิมสัดส่วนการส่งออกต่อรายได้ประชาชาติของเราก่อนวิกฤตอยู่ที่ร้อยละ 20-30 เท่านั้น แต่กลายเป็นร้อยละ 70 ของรายได้ประชาชาติ ดังนั้น จึงไม่แปลกที่ในรอบหลายปีที่ผ่านมาเมื่อเศรษฐกิจโลกตกต่ำ ไม่ว่าจะเป็นอเมริกา ยุโรป และจีนในระยะหลัง มันจึงทำให้การเติบโตของไทยต่ำลงไปด้วย คือเราพึ่งพาดีมานด์จากต่างประเทศเป็นหลักในการขับเคลื่อนเศรษฐกิจไทย

“ช่วงหลังวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจได้ไม่นาน ประมาณ 10 ปีแรกของวิกฤต ค่าเงินบาทอ่อนลงกว่าเดิมมาก ทำให้การส่งออกของเรายังขยายตัว เรายังมีการลงทุนเพื่อการส่งออกจำนวนหนึ่ง เศรษฐกิจไทยก็ยังโตได้ เช่นในยุคทักษิณ โตประมาณร้อยละ 5-6 แต่หลังปี 2550 เราก็มีวิกฤตการเมือง มีวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจโลก ค่าเงินบาทก็แข็งค่าขึ้นเรื่อยๆ ทำให้การส่งออกของเราน้อยลง โตช้าลง เมื่อส่งออกน้อยลง เราก็จะลงทุนในการผลิตน้อยลง ถ้าลงทุนเยอะเกินไป ผลิตแล้วอาจจะไม่มีคนซื้อ”

อภิชาต กล่าวว่า ในช่วง 10 ปีหลังมานี้การลงทุนของไทยต่ำลงมาก หากเปรียบเทียบกับก่อนวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจ รายได้ที่ประเทศไทยหาได้ 100 บาท มาจากการลงทุนถึง 40 บาท แต่หลังวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจ มูลค่าการลงทุนเฉลี่ยเหลือเพียง 20 บาท เมื่อการเติบโตของการส่งออกลดลง เงินลงทุนก็ยิ่งลดลงตาม เศรษฐกิจไทยจึงอยู่ในสภาพโตช้าลง นี่คือผลอย่างสำคัญของวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจ 2540

อภิชาต ขยายความต่อ Export let Growth หนึ่ง-พึ่งตลาดภายนอก ถ้าตลาดภายนอกไม่ดี ไทยก็แย่ไปด้วย สอง-พึ่งความสามารถในการแข่งขันระหว่างไทยเทียบกับคู่แข่ง ที่ผ่านมาไทยใช้ทรัพยากรแบบเดิมหมดแล้ว เช่น ทรัพยากรป่าไม้ ปลาในทะเล ของเหล่านี้ย่อมแพงขึ้น ความสามารถในการแข่งขันต่ำลง ที่สำคัญไปกว่านั้น กำลังแรงงานหมด ไม่มีแรงงานราคาถูก แต่เปลี่ยนเป็นแรงงานรายได้ปานกลาง จึงทำให้ความสามารถในการแข่งขันในระยะหลังของไทยต่ำลงด้วย เมื่อสองปัจจัยนี้เจอกันก็ยิ่งทำให้มีการลงทุนน้อย การเติบโตก็จะยิ่งน้อย เพราะลงทุนผลิตแล้วไม่รู้จะขายใคร จะแข่งกับเพื่อนบ้านในสินค้าแบบเดิมๆ ที่ไม่มีนวัตกรรมก็ไม่สามารถทำได้

“ถ้าสถานการณ์นี้ไม่เปลี่ยนแปลง เราจะไม่เจอวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจแบบในปี 2540 ซึ่งในความหมายหนึ่งคือวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจด้านมหภาค เป็นวิกฤตการเงิน การธนาคาร และอัตราแลกเปลี่ยน...แต่สิ่งที่เราจะเจอ ถ้าจะเรียกว่าวิกฤตในอนาคตก็คือวิกฤตที่เราโตช้า ก่อนวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจเราโตร้อยละ 7 ต่อปี 10 แรกหลังวิกฤตเราโตร้อยละ 5-6 ปัจจุบันเราโตประมาณร้อยละ 3 ในขณะที่ประชากรของเราแก่ขึ้นอย่างรวดเร็ว สัดส่วนของคนแก่ในสังคมไทยเพิ่มขึ้นอย่างรวดเร็ว เศรษฐกิจเราโตช้าลงเยอะ ถ้าจะเจอวิกฤตเราจะเจอแบบที่เรียกว่าวิกฤตต้มกบ"

วิกฤตเศรษฐกิจเปลี่ยนไทยให้กลายเป็นฐานของประเทศอย่างญี่ปุ่น เงินที่เข้ามาหลังวิกฤต เงินที่เข้ามาช้อนซื้อธุรกิจก็คือเงินญี่ปุ่น เพื่อใช้ไทยเป็นฐานการผลิตเพื่อการส่งออก เช่น รถยนต์ เพราะค่าเงินบาทตก ตอนนั้นทรัพยากร แรงงานก็ยังพอมี ถึงจุดนี้สิ่งที่เป็นฐานเหล่านี้มันหมดลงแล้ว

การลงทุนที่ผ่านมาเหมาะกับเศรษฐกิจเกิดใหม่เมื่อ 40 ปีมาแล้ว แต่ไทยกลับยังลงทุนในแบบเดิมมาตลอด คือการโตขึ้นบนฐานของทรัพยากรอุดมสมบูรณ์รวมแรงงาน เมื่อสิ่งเหล่านี้หมด การลงทุนจึงหดลง ถ้ายังอยากลงทุนให้สูงกว่านี้ก็ต้องลงทุนในสินค้าที่ขายออก ดังนั้น สินค้าแบบเก่าจึงไม่มีคนลงทุน ต้องไปลงทุนในสินค้าแบบใหม่

“ถ้าสถานการณ์นี้ไม่เปลี่ยนแปลง เราจะไม่เจอวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจแบบในปี 2540 ซึ่งในความหมายหนึ่งคือวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจด้านมหภาค เป็นวิกฤตการเงิน การธนาคาร และอัตราแลกเปลี่ยน ที่เกิดจากภาวะความไม่มั่นคงของทางมหภาค ตรงกันข้าม ภาวะเศรษฐกิจมหภาคในปัจจุบันของเรามั่นคงมาก แต่สิ่งที่เราจะเจอ ถ้าจะเรียกว่าวิกฤตในอนาคตก็คือวิกฤตที่เราโตช้า ก่อนวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจเราโตร้อยละ 7 ต่อปี 10 แรกหลังวิกฤตเราโตร้อยละ 5-6 ปัจจุบันเราโตประมาณร้อยละ 3 ในขณะที่ประชากรของเราแก่ขึ้นอย่างรวดเร็ว สัดส่วนของคนแก่ในสังคมไทยเพิ่มขึ้นอย่างรวดเร็ว เศรษฐกิจเราโตช้าลงเยอะ ถ้าจะเจอวิกฤตเราจะเจอแบบที่เรียกว่าวิกฤตต้มกบ

“เมื่อเศรษฐกิจโตอย่างช้าๆ สังคมก็จะไม่มีทรัพยากรเพียงพอที่จะรองรับคนแก่ วิกฤตที่เราจะเจอ ไม่ใช่วิกฤตการเงิน การธนาคาร อัตราแลกเปลี่ยน แต่เป็นวิกฤตสังคมแก่ก่อนรวย แปลว่าเป็นสังคมที่ไม่มีศักยภาพที่จะเลี้ยงดูคนแก่ เพราะคนแก่ใช้เงินเยอะ เราจะมีคนอายุเกิน 65 ปีในสัดส่วนที่เกินร้อยละ 20 ของประชากรภายใน 4-5 ปีข้างหน้า แปลว่าภาระของสังคมที่จะต้องเลี้ยงดูคนแก่จะสูงขึ้น ถ้าเศรษฐกิจโตช้าๆ ถ้าไม่มีความพยายามที่จะเก็บภาษีเพิ่ม สัดส่วนที่จะต้องใช้ในค่ารักษาพยาบาลก็จะสูงขึ้น แล้วรัฐจะยอมลดค่าใช้จ่ายตรงไหนมาดูแลคนแก่ ขณะที่ลูกหลานจะมีรายได้ที่เพิ่มขึ้นช้าลงเมื่อเทียบกับก่อนวิกฤต นี่คือภาวะต้มกบ”

หลายคนคงเคยได้ยินเรื่องเล่าที่ว่า หากเทกบใส่ลงไปในน้ำเดือด มันจะกระโดดออกมาทันที แต่ถ้าใส่มันไว้ในน้ำอุณหภูมิห้อง แล้วค่อยๆ ต้มน้ำจนเดือด ในตอนแรกกบจะไม่กระโดดหนี แต่จะค่อยๆ ปรับตัวกับน้ำที่อุณหภูมิสูงขึ้นๆ จนในที่สุดก็ไม่สามารถทานทนได้อีกต่อไปและตายในที่สุด อภิชาตย้ำว่า

“มันเป็นวิกฤตที่จะอยู่ใกล้ตัวมากขึ้น เกิดขึ้นช้าๆ ไม่เห็นความเปลี่ยนแปลง ไม่หวือหวา ไม่ตื่นเต้น ซึ่งจะทำให้คนไม่ค่อยตระหนัก มรดกของวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจคือต่ออายุการเติบโตออกไป แต่ตอนนี้หมดแล้ว ก็ต้องเปลี่ยนรูปแบบที่จะทำให้เศรษฐกิจโต”

นี่คือสิ่งที่เรียกว่ากับดักรายได้ปานกลาง

“เราต้องลงทุนในสินค้าใหม่ ซึ่งเราไปไม่ได้ และอย่าคิดว่าต้องลงทุนเฉพาะสินค้าอุตสาหกรรมอย่างเดียว ลงทุนแบบเคป็อปหรือสินค้าเชิงวัฒนธรรมก็ได้”

การเมือง: ช่องว่างทางการเมือง การเปลี่ยนรุ่น และรัฐธรรมนูญ 2540

“ปัจจุบัน 20 ปีหลังวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจ เราไม่ต้องกู้ต่างประเทศแล้ว เราออมมากกว่าการลงทุน ในความหมายนี้ เรากลายเป็นเจ้าหนี้ต่างประเทศแล้ว ตอนนี้เราลงทุนน้อย เราจึงโตช้า เงินออมจึงเหลือ เราก็ส่งออกเงินออมนี้ไปให้ต่างประเทศกู้ ตัวเลขที่ชัดเจนคือเงินสำรองของแบงค์ชาติเรามีเป็นแสนล้าน เรามั่นคงมาก เราจะไม่เจอปัญหาแบบต้มยำกุ้ง”

เมื่อเงินออมมีปริมาณมาก อัตราดอกเบี้ยจึงต่ำเตี้ยตามหลักดีมานด์-ซัพพลาย อย่างไรก็ตาม อภิชาตกล่าวว่าประเด็นที่ซ่อนอยู่ในรายละเอียดคือธนาคารได้กำไรมหาศาลภายใต้ภาวะอัตราดอกเบี้ยต่ำ เนื่องจากช่องว่างระหว่างอัตราดอกเบี้ยเงินฝากกับเงินกู้สูงกว่าก่อนวิกฤตเสียอีก นำมาสู่ประเด็นต่อมาที่ว่า

“ภาคการธนาคารของไทยเป็นภาคที่ได้รับการคุ้มครองจากรัฐสูงมาโดยตลอดตั้งแต่หลังสงครามโลกครั้งที่ 2 ก่อนวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจมีความพยายามจะเปิดให้ต่างชาติเข้ามาตั้งธนาคารได้ แต่เกิดวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจขึ้นเสียก่อน แต่หลังวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจ แบงค์ขาดทุนมาก รัฐจึงอนุญาตให้ต่างชาติเข้ามาซื้อหุ้นของแบงค์ที่มีอยู่แล้วและเปลี่ยนชื่อเป็นแบงค์ต่างชาติ ดังนั้น เมื่อเทียบกับก่อนวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจกับปัจจุบันมีผู้เล่นที่เป็นต่างชาติมากขึ้น ตั้งแต่นั้นเป็นต้นมา รัฐไม่ได้ขยายให้ต่างชาติเข้ามาเปิดกิจการมากขึ้นด้วยซ้ำ ในแง่นี้ ภาคธนาคารจึงเป็นภาคที่ได้รับการปกป้องจากภาครัฐมาโดยตลอด”

ก่อนวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจ นายทุนระดับชาติที่มีอิทธิพลมากที่สุดต่อการเมืองไทยคือทุนธนาคารพาณิชย์ เมื่อเกิดวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจขึ้น ชาตรี โสภณพานิชย์ แห่งอาณาจักรธนาคารกรุงเทพ ถึงกับกล่าวว่าตนเองเป็นเจ้าสัว Yesterday ทุนหายไป ภาคธนาคารล้มทั้งภาค ในแง่นี้จึงเปิดช่องว่างให้กับนายทุนหน้าใหม่ที่เป็นทุนระดับชาติ

“ช่องว่างทางการเมืองเกิดขึ้นได้ มันก็เปลี่ยนรุ่น เงินน้อยก็เจ๊งไป แล้วพวกทุนธนาคารก็ไม่เคยเล่นการเมืองแบบตั้งพรรคการเมืองเอง การเมืองก็คนละวิถี ทักษิณโตมาจากทุนสัมปทาน การเป็นนักการเมืองเองจึงน่าจะมีแรงจูงใจมากกว่า ประกอบกับรัฐธรรมนูญปี 2540 เปิดช่อง เขาเห็นกติกาใหม่ว่าแบบนี้มีทางไปได้ดีกว่ากติกาเก่า ถ้าไม่มีรัฐธรรมนูญใหม่ เขาจะลงมั้ย ก็อาจไม่ลงก็ได้ ถ้าไม่มีรัฐธรรมนูญ 2540 การเมืองก็จะเป็นรัฐบาลผสมและอ่อนแอ”

ปัจจุบัน นายธนาคารไม่ได้เป็นผู้ชี้เป็นชี้ตายเศรษฐกิจอีกแล้ว การเปิดเสรีทางการเงินในช่วงก่อนวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจทำให้นายทุนไม่ต้องพึ่งเงินกู้ธนาคาร แต่สามารถกู้จากตลาดทุน จากตลาดพันธะบัตร ออกหุ้นกู้ นำบริษัทเข้าตลาดหุ้นเพื่อระดมทุน หรือกู้เงินจากต่างประเทศได้โดยตรง จึงเท่ากับลดอิทธิพลของนายธนาคารลง

“อีกด้านหนึ่ง วิกฤตเศรษฐกิจเป็นตัวทำคลอดรัฐธรรมนูญ 2540 ผมคิดว่านี่คือตัวสำคัญที่ทำให้กระแสมันไป สุดท้ายมันบีบให้รัฐสภาต้องผ่านรัฐธรรมนูญปี 2540 ทั้งที่คนอย่างเสนาะ เทียนทอง บอกว่าจะคัดค้านมาโดยตลอด แต่เมื่อถึงตอนที่สภาต้องโหวต เสนาะก็โหวตให้รัฐธรรมนูญ 2540 ในแง่นี้วิกฤตเศรษฐกิจจึงทำคลอดรัฐธรรมนูญปี 2540”

ติดตามความเคลื่อนไหวของ ประชาไท ทางอีเมล คลิกอ่าน http://goo.gl/8xIcV หรือเฟซบุ๊ค http://fb.me/Prachatai

          Last remaining studio. Comes with optional rental programme, flexible...   
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           Empowered Hypnosis Audio Companion Meditation App (Healthcare & Fitness)   

Empowered Hypnosis Audio Companion Meditation App 3.5.5


Device: iOS Universal
Category: Healthcare & Fitness
Price: Free, Version: 3.5.5 (iTunes)

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Hypnosis Audio Programs for Life, Success, Career, Sex, Relationships, Money, Anxiety, Addiction and so much more!
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* Subscription automatically renews unless auto-renew is turned off at least 24-hours before the end of the current period
* No cancellation of the current subscription is allowed during active subscription period
* Any unused portion of a free trial period, if offered, will be forfeited when the user purchases a subscription to that publication.

Please read our privacy policy and terms of use: http://audiojoy.com/terms

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Woot! Lot’s of new goodies, check em!
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v3.2.3 (meditation)
Wow! Amazing New Features

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Empowered Hypnosis Audio Companion Meditation App


           MindMekka Audio Courses - Motivate Educate Elevate (Lifestyle)   

MindMekka Audio Courses - Motivate Educate Elevate 3.5.5


Device: iOS Universal
Category: Lifestyle
Price: Free, Version: 3.5.5 (iTunes)

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Listen to audio courses, workshops, and audiobooks to gain self-confidence, change your lifestyle, and motivate yourself to become a happier, healthier you. MindMekka helps encourage your personal growth by offering courses on all aspects of life from a team of dedicated professionals. Stop worrying and start working your way to happiness through personal transformation. Learn better habits, set personal goals, even gain social skills that will give you the confidence to achieve greater success in life.

MindMekka offers a new way to learn, at your own pace and on your own time through the help of modern technology. They don’t stop at just life coaching. The team’s passion for positive thinking will help you build your self-esteem and inspire you to change your life. With hours of content on everything from productivity to relationships, get all your self-help needs taken care of right here. It’s your one stop shop for happiness.

LESSONS AT YOUR OWN PACE - Listen to stories that will make you think, feel, and wonder about personal strategies for success. Learn on the way to work, at the gym, or during weekends. Create a playlist and program a routine that works on your time.

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We offer auto-renewing subscriptions as well a one-time unlock fee via in-app purchase. Details about our subscriptions for Audiojoy content are:

* 1 Month (auto renews every month) for $3.99
* 3 Month (auto renews every 3 months) for $6.99
* Payment will be charged to iTunes Account at confirmation of purchase
* Subscription automatically renews unless auto-renew is turned off at least 24-hours before the end of the current period
* No cancellation of the current subscription is allowed during active subscription period
* Any unused portion of a free trial period, if offered, will be forfeited when the user purchases a subscription to that publication.

Please read our privacy policy and terms of use: http://audiojoy.com/terms

What's New

v3.5.5
- Bam! Now you can add content packs to “my content” then re-order and remove
- Fixed issue with playlist for some people

v3.5.3
Removed manage subscriptions from settings
Improvements to audio player
v3.5.2 (default, meditation)
Woot! Lot’s of new goodies, check em!
- Create playlist and re-order tracks
- Daily inspiration graphics
- Improved audio streaming/caching for faster listening
- Bug fixes
- Improved user interface, unlock screen
- Meditation and sleep timer
- Looping meditation & relaxing sounds

v3.2.3 (meditation)
Wow! Amazing New Features

- Meditation Timer
- Meditation Sounds
- Daily Inspiration Notifications
- Improved Audio Player
- Improved Customer Service
- New Meditation Packs
- Better Unlock App Screen

MindMekka Audio Courses - Motivate Educate Elevate


          Software Developer - CONFORMiT - Quebec   
Evolving in a context of enterprise growth, the software developer works with the development team to offer a powerful and cutting-edge software, with the aim
From CONFORMiT - Sun, 16 Apr 2017 07:32:00 GMT - View all Quebec jobs
          WE ARE ALL THIRD WAY NOW:   
The Case For a Universal  Basic Income (Sebastian Johnson, 7/01/17, The Los Angeles Times)

There are competing ideas about how exactly the policy should work. Advocates on the left call for a UBI that would increase benefits to the poor and be financed by increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy. Conservative advocates favor an approach wherein programs in the current safety net, such as Social Security and food stamps, are replaced with a UBI. Others favor an incrementalist policy in which current safety net programs are expanded to include all Americans, while another faction wants to build a UBI program from scratch. Despite their differences, all approaches to UBI policy share the core goal of establishing an income floor for every American.

An income floor would help American workers in a number of critical ways. Relieved of the immediate pressure to pay bills, workers could pursue training for the kinds of jobs that automation will bring. A universal basic income would allow skilled workers to take entrepreneurial risks they cannot afford now. It would also allow Americans to work fewer hours but maintain their living standards, leaving more time for caregiving and raising children. Overall, UBI would provide a significant boost to the American middle class, which has stagnated even as productivity and overall wealth continue to rise. By putting more money into the pockets of workers, a UBI could fuel aggregate demand and job growth in different sectors across the country.

Momentum is building. Child poverty experts in growing numbers have called on states and the federal government to consider a child allowance -- UBI for kids -- that would help level the playing field for low- and middle-income families. The California Senate is considering ambitious cap-and-trade legislation that would send "climate dividend rebates" to every citizen. Even some oil companies are in favor of schemes to tax carbon and send checks to every American.

          THE BEST IS YET TO COME:   
Latinos key to U.S. economic growth, study finds (Octavio Blanco, 7/01/17, CNNMoney)

In 2015, the 55 million Latinos living and working in the U.S. were responsible for $2.13 trillion -- or 11.8% -- of America's $18.04 trillion gross domestic product, according to a study released Thursday by the Latino Donors Collaborative, a nonpartisan association of Latino business, political and academic leaders.

And those contributions are expected to continue to grow.

By 2020, the researchers estimate that Latinos will fuel nearly a quarter of all U.S. GDP growth, and represent 12.7% of the country's total GDP. Helping to power that growth will be the growing number of young Latinos who will be joining the workforce as an older generation of American workers -- the Baby Boomers -- retire.

          R-Star and the Yellen rules   

R-Star and the Yellen rules

Henrike Michaelis, Volker Wieland 03 February 2017

With the new Republican majority in both Houses of the US Congress, the Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization (FORM) Act that was passed by the House of Representatives in November 2015 is receiving renewed attention. Section 2 requires that the Fed:

  1. “describe the strategy or rule of the Federal Open Market Committee for the systematic quantitative adjustment” of its policy instruments; and
  2. compare its strategy or rule with a reference rule.1

Janet Yellen, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, is to be complimented for using such comparisons with reference rules in her communication about Fed policy. Just recently, in a speech at Stanford on 19 January, she discussed how current Fed policy compares to several simple policy rules.2

For example, Yellen uses the well-known Taylor rule as a reference point. Additionally, she considers two other rules, which she calls the ‘balanced-approach rule’ and the ‘change rule’. Looking forward, she contrasts the implications of the rules with the FOMC members’ projections for the federal funds rate. She states that such benchmark rules “can be helpful in providing broad guidance about how the federal funds rate should be adjusted over time in response to movements in real activity and inflation.” Yet, as Yellen notes, “the Taylor rule prescribes a much higher path for the federal funds rate than the median of (FOMC) participants’ assessments of appropriate policy”.

Yellen goes on to make the important argument that “if the neutral rate were to remain quite low over the medium term, .., then the appropriate setting for R-Star in the Taylor rule would arguably be zero, yielding a yet lower path for the federal funds rate.” To support her argument, she refers to estimates of this R-Star by Holston et al. (2017).

However, as we show below, if one uses an estimate of potential real activity that is consistent with this R-Star estimate, the argument is turned on its head. Since the consistent estimate of potential real activity is lower than the one considered by Yellen, it implies federal funds rate prescriptions that have been above Fed policy for quite some time. Thus, a consistent use of these estimates indicates that Fed policy has been rather loose relative to such a reference rule.

This is shown in Figure 1. The blue line is the actual federal funds rate. The orange line indicates the prescriptions from the (standard) Taylor rule. The dark green line (labelled the “Yellen Taylor Rule”) uses the lower neutral rate/R-Star estimate suggested by Yellen (2016). Its prescriptions for the funds rate are quite a bit lower. However, once the consistent estimate of potential real activity is used along with the R-Star estimate, the interest rate prescriptions move back up as shown by the light-green line in Figure 1 (labelled the “consistent Yellen Taylor rule”).

Figure 1 Federal funds rate and Taylor rules

R-Star and other ingredients in the reference rules

Let’s take a closer look why this is so. The Taylor rule prescribes a value for the federal funds rate that deviates from its long-run equilibrium whenever inflation deviates from a target of 2% and output deviates from potential (Taylor 1993). Here’s the formula:

Fed Funds Rate = R-Star + Target + 1.5 (Inflation – Target) + 0.5 (Output Gap)

The equilibrium funds rate is simply the sum of the long-term equilibrium real rate, the ‘infamous’ R-Star, and the target rate for inflation. Taylor (1993) puts both at 2%. For inflation, the 2% value actually coincides with the Fed’s longer-run goal made public in 2012 and measured with the PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditures) Index. For R-Star, Taylor (1993) used trend GDP growth, which stood at 2.2% between 1984 and 1992. Incidentally, the same estimate of R-Star stands even a bit higher between 1984 and 2016.

The standard Taylor rule shown in Figure 1 uses a 2% R-Star, core PCE inflation (green line in Figure 2), and the output gap proposed by Yellen (2016). This output gap (blue line in Figure 2) is based on the unemployment rate using Okun’s law with an estimate of the long-run NAIRU. This output gap measure declines following the outbreak of the financial crisis reaching a trough of -8% in 2010, and it has just been closed in 2016.

Figure 2 Output gap estimates and PCE-inflation (core)

Medium-run equilibrium rates

The Yellen Taylor rule instead uses estimates of the equilibrium real rate based on a methodology as appears in Laubach and Williams (2003) and Holston et al. (2017). (For the calculation, see Beyer and Wieland 2014 and GCEE 2015, 2016.) This is best characterised as a medium-run equilibrium rate. It is estimated within a three-equation model consisting of an aggregate demand curve, an inflation Phillips curve, and a definition linking potential growth and the equilibrium interest rate/R-Star. This setup contains a number of temporary and permament shocks. The estimate of the medium-run equilibrium rate can change substantially within short periods of time. As shown by the orange line in Figure 3, it declined sharply with the recession in 2008/2009 and has hovered near zero since then.

Figure 3 Medium run equilibrium interest rates

Using the estimate of the medium-run equilibrium rate in place of the long-run equilibrium R-Star, the Yellen Taylor rule (green line in Figure 1) results in much lower federal funds rate prescriptions than the standard Taylor rule.

However, the estimates of potential real activity and the output gap obtained with the methodology as in Laubach and Williams (2003) are quite different from those in the Yellen Taylor rule, which are derived from a long-run NAIRU. The medium-run output gap (orange line in Figure 2) declines much less in the 2008/09 recession. The trough occurs at about -2%. The output gap estimate is back in positive territory by 2011. A deeper trough and longer-lasting negative output gap would have implied substantial deflation according to the estimated Phillips curve. Absent deflation, potential is revised down and the output gap is revised upwards. Along with the lower potential and trend growth, the equilibrium rate estimate declines. Consequently, using the consistent medium run estimates of R-Star and the output gap, the federal funds rate prescriptions from the consistent Yellen Taylor rule turns out to be quite a bit higher than when the long-run NAIRU-based output gap is used.

The balanced-approach rule, also considered by Yellen, doubles the coefficient on the output gap to unity. Thus, the interest rate prescriptions from the balanced-approach rule would be even higher. Finally, the change rule uses first-differences, thereby removing R-Star considerations from the formula.

R-Star, reference rules, and Fed independence

In conclusion, with the use of simple reference rules one can illustrate quite clearly the impact of changes in R-Star and potential real activity on the path for monetary policy. In this sense, the comparative approach that would be required under Section 2 of the FORM Act proves quite useful. It also helps pointing out that insisting on consistency in the gap and equilibrium measures has important implications for how to interpret current policy. Specifically, the decline in R-Star estimates does not justify the current policy stance. Rather, consistent application suggests that policy should be tightened. Whether these medium-run estimates, following Laubach and Williams (2003), should really be given so much attention is another question. For one thing, they are extremely imprecise as indicated by the wide confidence bands in Figure 3. They are very sensitive to technical assumptions (Beyer and Wieland 2015, GCEE 2015), as Laubach and Williams (2003) have stressed. Others have pointed to a number of reasons why these estimates may suffer from omitted variable bias (Taylor and Wieland 2016, Cukierman 2016). Thus, it would be better not to use them as key determinant of the policy stance.

Importantly, however, these comparisons of Fed policy to simple reference rules show how such legislation would serve to bolster the Federal Reserve’s independence. Just imagine, if ever a president would try to exert pressure on the Fed to keep interest rates too low for too long in order to boost activity during his or her term and improve chances of reelection. This has a name – it’s a political business cycle. Clearly, by referring to such legislation and appropriate reference rules, the Fed would be able to better stand up to such pressure and more effectively communicate its reasons to the public.

References

Beyer, R C M and V Wieland (2015) “Schätzung des mittelfristigen Gleichgewichtszinses in den Vereinigten Staaten, Deutschland und dem Euro-Raum mit der Laubach-Williams-Methode”, GCEE Working Paper 03/2015, Wiesbaden, November.

Cukierman, A (2016) “Reflections on the natural rate of interest, its measurement, monetary policy and the zero bound”, CEPR Discussion paper 11467.

GCEE (2016) “Time for reforms”. Annual economic report, German Council of Economic Experts, 2 November.

GCEE (2015), “Focus on future viability”, Annual economic report, German Council of Economic Experts, 11 November.

Laubach, T and J C Williams (2003) “Measuring the natural rate of interest”, Review of Economics and Statistics, 85(4): 1063-1070.

Holston, K, T Laubach and J C Williams (2017) “Measuring the natural rate of interest: International trends and determinants”, Journal of International Economics, in press.

Taylor, J B and V Wieland (2016) “Finding the equilibrium real interest rate in a fog of policy deviations”, Business Economics, 51(3): 147-154.

Yellen, J (2016) “The economic outlook and the conduct of monetary policy”, Remarks at Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Stanford University, 19 January.

Yellen, J (2015) “Normalizing monetary policy: Prospects and perspectives”, Remarks at the conference on New Normal Monetary Policy, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Endnotes

[1] For more information on the legislation and why the Requirements for Policy Rules of the Federal Open Market Committee are supported by leading scholars of monetary economics see here.

[2] This can be found in the third section of the speech under the heading “Evaluating the appropriate stance of monetary policy” (Yellen 2016).

Topics:  Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  Fed, US Federal Reserve System, Janet Yellen, R-Star, Federal Open Market Committee, Taylor rule


          The nature and effectiveness of central-bank communication   

The nature and effectiveness of central-bank communication

Stephen Hansen, Michael McMahon 03 February 2016

Over the past two decades, central bank communication has become an increasingly important policy instrument. Figure 1 plots the use of the phrase “central bank communication” in English books over the recent past. Usage rapidly expands after essentially no coverage before 2000. One illustrative example is the recent decision of the US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to raise policy rates by 25 basis points on 16 December 2015. While markets widely anticipated this decision, there was a great deal of speculation beforehand about the statement the Federal Reserve would release with its decision that would outline its views on economic conditions and forward guidance on future policy decisions.

Figure 1. Frequency of phrase “central bank communication” in Google Books corpus over time

Note: y-axis scale is *10e-10 percentage points.
Source: Google Ngram Viewer.

The importance of communication to monetary policy has risen alongside a recognition that controlling market expectations is as important – if not more so – than setting the actual overnight policy rate. Communication is one of the main channels through which central bankers can affect market beliefs about its future actions. Evidence of this comes from the event-study analysis of Gürkaynak et al. (2005), who show that on Fed decision days the statement moves markets beyond the effect of the change in contemporary policy rate. More generally, once one accepts the importance of communication in shaping expectations, an important issue is to design the optimal communication policy (Reis 2013).

While the literature has established that communication can drive expectations, it has not pinned down the mechanism by which it does. In other words, given that central bankers can speak about a variety of issues, which ones are most important for driving market outcomes? Our recent paper builds on the computational linguistics techniques developed by Blei et al (2003) and introduced to the economics literature by Hansen et al (2014) to address this question (see Hansen and McMahon 2016).

Measuring central bank communication

For our analysis, we consider Fed statements from 1998 up to 2014. These statements – released when the policy interest rate is announced after each FOMC meeting – provide short summaries of the FOMC’s thinking behind interest rate decisions. There are eight such meetings each year. Central bank communication can give information along (at least) two distinct dimensions. First, the Fed has in place a large infrastructure for determining economic conditions, not all of which is available to market participants. By disclosing its views on conditions, the Fed can provide additional information to outsiders. Second, the FOMC can indicate how it expects to set future policy, so-called ‘forward guidance’.

To measure communication about economic conditions, we first estimate a topic model called Latent Dirichlet allocation (Blei et al 2003) on the set of paragraphs of all Fed statements in our sample. This both estimates topics or coherent themes within the data, and then decomposes each paragraph into the percentage of time it spends covering each topic. Importantly, there are no pre-defined labels on topics; instead, the algorithm groups together words in a completely data-driven way. After estimating topics, we identify several that pertain to economic conditions – prices and inflation; the demand side of the economy; labour market conditions; and growth prospects. Figure 2 illustrates the topic pertaining to labour market conditions as a word cloud in which the size of the word is proportional to the probability it appears in the topic.

Figure 2. Example topic about economic conditions

For the next step, we identify which paragraphs are predominantly about economic conditions and then, within these paragraphs, count the number of ‘expansionary’ words – such as “increasing”, “accelerating”, etc. – and subtract the number of ‘contractionary’ words such as “weak”, “slow”, etc. (The specific lists are taken from Apel and Blix Grimaldi 2012). This allows us to construct an index for each meeting’s statement of how positive the Fed is about economic conditions.

To measure forward guidance, we manually identify relevant paragraphs.1 We take a broader conception of forward guidance than some of the recent literature. We consider paragraphs to contain forward guidance if they reflect conditional statements about the extent of monetary support going forward, if they contain the date-based guidance of the FOMC in recent years, or if the FOMC statement is clear about the balance of risks as seen by the FOMC. To form our measure of a particular meeting’s forward guidance, we multiply the share of a statement’s total words made up of paragraphs about forward guidance and multiply it by the overall direction of the guidance (an increase in future rates = 1; a neutral stance = 0; and a decrease in future rates = -1). To arrive at the final index, we rescale this measure by the number of words in the forward guidance paragraphs that reflect uncertainty (the specific list is taken from Loughran and McDonald 2011) – the more ‘uncertain’ words the paragraphs contain, the lower the index. The idea is that more precise forward guidance should be more informative than ambiguous statements.

Figure 3 plots the time series of both our economic conditions and forward guidance indices. The former roughly tracks the business cycle (though it is noisy), while the latter grows in prominence over time, in particular in the recent period in which the Fed engaged in unconventional monetary policy.

Figure 3. Indices of Fed communication about economic conditions and forward guidance

Effects of public communication

Our ultimate question of interest is which dimension of monetary policy communication —economic conditions or forward guidance — is more important for explaining the market responses to Fed statements. We also need to control for the policy rate decision that accompanies Fed statements. For this, we use the shadow rates constructed in Wu and Xia (2014) that correct for the fact that the main policy rate of the Fed reached its effective lower bound in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

To study the impact of multi-dimensional monetary policy (communication in addition to the monetary stance), we employ a factor-augmented vector autoregression (FAVAR) statistical model. This allows us to model interdependencies among all variables while capturing the effects of the macroeconomy using factors from a large array of macroeconomic time-series data.

We first study the reaction of financial asset prices to monetary policy. In terms of bonds, we find that the short end of the yield curve reacts very little to communication, but is fairly sensitive to the policy rate. But as one goes out further in the yield curve, forward guidance plays an increasingly important role in explaining variation in bond prices. On the other hand, communication about economic conditions explains very little of the observed bond price movements in our data at all time-horizons. The overall pattern is similar for equity prices – forward guidance explains three to four times as much movement in market indices as economic conditions communication.

We also study the relationship between monetary policy and the real economy. Here again, we find an important role for forward guidance relative to economic conditions. In fact, forward guidance explains as much variation in short-term unemployment rates as the monetary stance itself. Again though, there is little role for economic conditions in explaining movement in unemployment, prices, and other measures of economic activity.

Overall, then, the message of our work is that markets appear to put much more weight on what central banks say about their future policy decisions than what they say about economic conditions. This is consistent with a view in which market participants and the Fed have a similar understanding of the state of the economy at any given point in time, but substantial uncertainty exists regarding the future behaviour of the central bank. In this environment, communication shapes expectations through providing markets with additional information on how the central bank will behave in the future.

References

Apel, M and M Blix Grimaldi (2012) “The information content of central bank minutes”, Working Paper Series 261, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).

Blei, D M, A Y Ng and M I Jordan (2003) “Latent Dirichlet allocation", Journal of Machine Learning Research, 3: 993-1022.

Blinder, A S (1998) Central banking in theory and practice, Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Gürkaynak, R S, B Sack and E Swanson (2005) “Do actions speak louder than words? The response of asset prices to monetary policy actions and statements”, International Journal of Central Banking 1(1).

Hansen, S and M McMahon (2016) “Shocking language: Understanding the macroeconomic effects of central bank communication”, CEPR, Discussion Paper 11018.

Hansen, S, M McMahon and A Prat (2014) “Transparency and deliberation within the FOMC: a computational linguistics approach”, CEPR, Discussion Paper 9994.

Loughran, T and B McDonald (2011) “When is a liability not a liability? Textual analysis, dictionaries, and 10-Ks”, Journal of Finance, 66: 35-65.

Reis, R (2013) “Central bank design”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27(4): 17-44.

Wu, J C and F D Xia (2014) “Measuring the macroeconomic impact of monetary policy at the zero lower bound”, NBER, Working Papers 20117.

Footnotes

1 For larger sets of documents, one can apply classification algorithms to automate labeling.

Topics:  Financial regulation and banking Frontiers of economic research Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  Information, Communication, Central Banks, central banking, Fed, central bank communication, expectations, markets, interest rates, forward guidance, economic conditions, policy


          China’s capital flight and US monetary policy   

China’s capital flight and US monetary policy

Yin-Wong Cheung, Sven Steinkamp, Frank Westermann 27 January 2016

In a largely closed capital market like China, illicit capital flows are inherently difficult to measure as no official data is recorded and the true volume is unobservable. However, standard proxies in the literature suggest that it is economically sizable, amounting to up to 2% of GDP in recent years. Figure 1 displays three common measures of capital flight. Although these proxies appear to follow different dynamics, they have in common that they are large and on the same order of magnitude when compared to official flows.

Figure 1. Capital flight and official flows