The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, an economist named Narayana Kocherlakota, recently toured the western North Dakota oil patch. Before delivering a speech in Williston, he spoke with local reporters, including Black Gold Boom’s Todd Melby.
Although the impact of the boom on local residents is huge, and it’s the biggest economic story in the state, its affect on the region’s economy is small.
North Dakotans want to know how long this surge in oil drilling will last. Is this a 5-year, 10-year or 20-year boom? Most folks think of this from a “How many barrels of oil are in the ground?” perspective, but not Kocherlakota. He answered the question from a classic supply-and-demand economic perspective.
Agriculture and energy production now dominant North Dakota’s economy. Is that how North Dakota sees itself in 20 years? Kocherlakota urged the state — and western leaders — to imagine what kind of economy it wants in the decades ahead.