At one time, North Dakota boasted 1% unemployment, boosted by an unstoppable oil boom that generated more money than people knew what to do with. Tens of thousands of workers flocked to a region handing high school graduates $100,000 a year salaries to drive trucks…
People had plenty of reason to be excited. With oil well above $100 a barrel, folks were seeing a boom that resembled the 1849 gold rush…
But then it all fell apart.
Global oil supply began to far outweigh demand.
These days, no one wants to stop producing, let alone meet to discuss temporarily disrupting production. The Saudis have no interest in helping, fearing they’ll give away market share if they were to do so.
And oil is slipping again, last trading at $29.71.
As a result of falling oil prices, oil rigs in North Dakota have vanished.
It’s a sign that falling oil prices have taken their toll. Of the 192 drilling rigs active in August 2014, just 94 were open by the middle of 2015. As of now, that number is down to just 44…and it’s taking a wild toll on sales tax revenue.
The oil boom went bust, leaving a once-thriving North Dakota with a $1 billion hole in its budget. The shortfall, released in new budget estimates, represents more than 20% of its tax revenue, according to CNN Money.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens next. But I’m still seeing some opportunities in the down-and-out, and very drenched oil market. Stay tuned.