North Dakota is among the top states for producing jobs, thanks to its commitment to investing in research and development, according to a new study issued Monday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber Foundation.
Last year, North Dakota's economic development efforts produced 7,850 net new jobs, and North Dakota exports grew 27 percent over the previous year to $1.5 billion, the study stated.
"It shows good progress on building our economy and creating more opportunity in North Dakota," said North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven.
The Enterprising States study is part of the U.S. Chamber's "American Free Enterprise. Dream Big." campaign, a comprehensive nationwide effort to create 20 million jobs in the next 10 years.
North Dakota was ranked first among top overall growth performers.
"The state of North Dakota, perhaps an afterthought to some, was a national leader in job growth over the last decade," the study stated.
The study ranked job growth between 2000 and 2007.
In addition to healthy agriculture and energy sectors, construction and manufacturing sectors are relatively healthy, the study stated. North Dakota has seen 42 percent job growth in professional and technical services and 36 percent growth in management of companies since 2002, the study stated.
"Recent investments in research and development infrastructure are beginning to pay off as the state is the fastest growing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics job growth," the study stated.
"Aggressive economic development is our number one focus," Hoeven said. "It's the engine that drives the car."
North Dakota ranked fifth behind South Dakota, Wyoming, Tennessee and Indiana among top-performing tax and regulation states.
The study pointed to the state's budget surplus, the fairness of its legal system and the state-owned Bank of North Dakota.
"In the last decade, the Bank of North Dakota has turned back a third of a billion dollars to the state's general fund, offsetting taxes," the study stated.
The study also highlighted North Dakota's steps to encourage investment by offering aggressive research and development and seed capital tax credit programs.
Shane Goettle, North Dakota Dept. of Commerce commissioner, said the state was very deliberate in establishing the most aggressive research and development tax credits in the country.
"Our challenge now is to stay right at the top. We're certainly standing out, and I think that's because we continue to maintain our focus and do things the right way," he said.