Author and professor Joel Kotkin has a column in today’s Wall Street Journal on why North Dakota’s economy “sticks out like a diamond in a bowl of cherry pits,” to use the words of the Minneapolis Fed’s Ron Wirtz.
Kotkin’s opinion piece, which can also be found at New Geography, hits on most of the high points for the best-performing state since the recession — 3.8% unemployment, booming oil production and revenues, an expanding population and tax base, among many other things. And Kotkin uses EMSI’s employment numbers for STEM occupations to show North Dakota’s strength in that area, too:
Between 2002 and 2009, state employment in science, technology, engineering and math-related professions grew over 30%, according to EMSI, an economic modeling firm. This is five times the national average.
While the overall numbers are still small compared to those of bigger states, North Dakota now outperforms the nation in everything from the percentage of college graduates under the age of 45 to per-capita numbers of engineering and science graduates. Median household income in 2009 was $49,450, up from $42,235 in 2000. That 17% increase over the last decade was three times the rate of Massachussetts and more than 10 times that of California.