Thursday, April 22, 2010

Housing shortage linked to economic boom in North Dakota

This front-page story in yesterday's New York Times features the dateline Williston, North Dakota, population 12,512. The headline is "A State with Jobs but Few Places to Live." It tells of an oil boom economy that has burgeoned so quickly that housing hasn't kept up. An excerpt follows:

The same forces that have resulted in more homelessness elsewhere — unemployment, foreclosure, economic misery — have pushed laid off workers from California, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan and Wyoming to abundant jobs here, especially in the booming oil fields.

But in this city rising from the long empty stretches of North Dakota, hundreds are sleeping in their cars or living in motel rooms, pup tents and tiny campers meant for weekend getaways in warmer climes. They are staying on cots in offices and in sleeping bags in the concrete basements of people they barely know.

Monica Davey notes that North Dakota never slipped into recession, unlike most of the rest of the nation. This reminds me of a recent report about another (largely rural) state that has apparently weathered the recession reasonably well--in part because there was no real bubble to burst: Arkansas. Listen to the marketplace story here.

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