“The biggest image buster for our state was the movie Fargo. I can’t tell you the number of times that people will cite the scene where the guy is burying the ransom money along that snowy fence-line and the remoteness of it.” Pam Trhlik, with the Department of Commerce for ND, was one of the other speakers with me in Devils Lake. She moved back from AZ and NM after leaving the state in 1986 when she graduated from college with an attitude of, “The only way to make it is to get a diploma and run as far away as you can.”
While 96% of ND residents think that the state is a good or great place in which to live, 80% think that the national perspective is indifference to negative. The state boosts the safest ranking in the USA, second lowest cost of doing business, fifth lowest unemployment rate, second fastest per capita income growth since 2000, eighth highest life expectancy and many other positive attributes. Forbes Magazine ranks Fargo (no. 3) and Bismarck (no. 4) in their top 10 ranking of small metro areas in the USA.
“We have the potential to become the Saudi Arabia of wind energy. Renewable energy and petroleum are going to be huge job generators in the next several years. Marathon Oil is getting ready to sink 300 oil wells in the state in the next two years,” Trhlik mentioned in her talk.
North Dakota has a shortage of workers and the state is trying to recruit back former residents like Trhlik. There are a lot of things that I like about the state as I’ve gotten to know it better over the last couple of years. It’s too bad that one popular movie gave it such a bum rap.