ND -- Third Best State for Business -- Can Do Better - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

ND -- Third Best State for Business -- Can Do Better

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  North Dakota earns its way to third best state for business with "the most robust economy over the past five years."  However, these rankings -- from Forbes.com -- reveal there's still work to be done.

North Dakota ranks 19th in terms of quality of life.  To calculate, Forbes takes factors such cost of living, crime rates, resident health, higher education -- even average temperature -- into account.  While we can't change the weather, some say we can still do better.  

"So I think we're really at a point now we're just simply playing catch up.  I think our Cities, our Counties, our School Boards and our Park Districts have done an excellent job in adapting and changing as fast as we can," says Brian Ritter, Director of Business Development, Bismarck-Mandan Development Association.

North Dakota ranks 15th in labor supply, which factors-in high school and college attainment, as well as population and migration.  Experts believe better preparing students for today's labor market can boost this number.

"The current supply of students coming out, they are not necessarily ready for the jobs we have available in North Dakota for the energy industry.  We need to work on relationships with students.  We need to work on rigor with students, and we need to make sure that it's relevant to the job force they're going into when they graduate," says Paul Keidel, STEM Coordinator, Bismarck Public Schools Career Academy.

In assessing labor supply, Forbes also takes into account the percentage of workforce represented by unions.  In North Dakota, they say that figure is 8.6%.  However, since North Dakota is a right-to-work state, union membership is expected to be lower.  Forbes points out that all but one of the top ten States in the "Best States for Business" rankings have right-to-work laws.


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