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Chris Haroldson, Manhattan, Kan., Published December 06 2013

Letter: North Dakota is blessed by boom

North Dakota hasn’t always been a land of opportunity. Anyone who graduated from high school more than 10 years ago will remember debates about outmigration, jobs for young adults, and efforts to raise everyone’s average pay.

Today in North Dakota, this is no longer the case. Incomes have risen above the national averages, college graduates have options and it’s a job-seeker’s market. This success can be traced almost wholly to the oil industry’s impact on jobs throughout the state.

North Dakota’s success is not the case throughout much of the country. I moved from Fargo to Kansas in April 2012 not fully realizing how tough the job market really is. People are still struggling, and while unemployment might be down from its peak, many are underemployed and looking for any opportunity to advance.

Feel fortunate that North Dakota has been blessed with the oil boom. Work to solve its challenges but don’t suffocate it, don’t overregulate it and don’t kill it. Welcome the newcomers to the prairie as hardworking people like our grandparents and great-grandparents were.

Celebrate the opportunity our state has to keep our graduates at home and bring many more back. Hopefully at some point, it will bring me back, too.