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Forum News Service, Published December 13 2013

Standard & Poor's upgrades ND credit rating to AAA

BISMARCK – Standard & Poor’s Rating Services has upgraded North Dakota’s credit rating from AA to AAA, making the state one of only 15 in the nation to hold the financial services company’s top credit rating, Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced Friday.

The major credit house also upgraded North Dakota’s appropriation debt rating and obligation debt rating to better reflect the state’s “very strong capacity to meet financial commitments,” the governor’s office stated in a news release.

“The stable outlook reflects what we view as North Dakota's strong government framework and management, strong budgetary performance, and enhanced reserves,” Standard & Poor’s reported, according to the release. “In our view, North Dakota's stability throughout economic cycles has long been a positive credit factor, and performance through the recent recession was stronger than nearly all state peers.”

Dalrymple said the analysis “reflects the great progress we’re making in North Dakota.”

Other factors in the upgrade included the state’s lowest-in-the-nation unemployment rate, its per-capita gross state product and improvements to state pension funds.