Magazine April 30, 2012, Issue

Booming North Dakota

(Thomas Fricke/First Light/Corbis)
What it’s like, what it means

Bismarck, N.D.

For many years, North Dakota has been the least visited state in the Union. There are no real tourist attractions here; Mount Rushmore is in South Dakota. The late newsman Eric Sevareid, who was born in North Dakota, called his native state “a large, rectangular blank spot in the nation’s mind.” But reporters from all over the world have been coming here lately, because North Dakota boasts one of the most interesting and exciting stories in the country: an honest-to-goodness boom.

The state has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, at 3.1 percent. Some wonder who could be out

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