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Dave Olson, Published March 23 2012

TRADE TALK: North Dakota tops nation in non-ag job growth

Employment figures show North Dakota leads other states when it comes to having the strongest non-agricultural job growth in 2011.

North Dakota’s non-ag employment grew by 6.3 percent last year, easily outpacing the other top five states, which included:

• West Virginia, up 2.6 percent.

• Texas, up 2.5 percent.

• Louisiana, up 2.4 percent.

• Oklahoma, up 2.2 percent.

“One common theme among those doing well on the list is the use of natural resources at a time of high energy prices,” said Lee McPheters of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which came up with the rankings based on job figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The rankings reveal four states saw a net loss in jobs in 2011: Alaska, Missouri, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.


Building permits approved by the city of Fargo show several large projects getting under way.

Kohl’s department store at 4444 13th Ave. S. is working on a $1.4 million remodeling of both the exterior and interior of the store.

Nativity Catholic Church, 1825 11th St. S., is making improvements throughout its 1960s-era school building, including a replacement of the school’s boiler with a geothermal heating system.

The church is also building an addition that will include a new entryway as well as gathering space and space for a number of parish offices.

The school’s offices will be moved to a different location within the building.

The improvements are valued at about $2.5 million.

Homebuyer helper

Potential first-time homebuyers in Fargo can now benefit from the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s down payment and closing cost assistance program.

The program provides zero-interest, deferred-payment loans to help lower income first-time homebuyers meet out-of-pocket cash requirements.

The homeowner may be eligible to receive the greater of 3 percent of the purchase price of the home or $3,000.

The city of Fargo previously offered a homebuyer assistance program that provided down payment and closing cost assistance to eligible homebuyers. Due to cuts in federal funding, this assistance is no longer available.

For more information, visit www.ndhfa.org or call (701) 328-8080 or (800) 292-8621.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555. Dianna Baumann of The Forum newsroom contributed to this report.