North Dakota has received a lot of good press recently, as its economy has shown a level of resilience unparalleled by any other in the nation. Over the course of the last decade, North Dakota’s per capita income has moved up from 38th in the country to 17th, by far the most significant increase of any state during that time. The state’s oil boom has created a $1 billion state budget surplus, while agricultural trade continues to bring in another $1 billion each year. North Dakota is also among the few states to see an increase in manufacturing jobs over the last decade.
A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Production for American audiences called, PRI’s the World, reported that North Dakotans have figured out a formula that has created a self-reliant local economy, while still positioning the state’s manufacturing sector to sell agricultural equipment to trade partners as far away as Angola, Kazakhstan and Romania. North Dakota’s uniquely advantageous position, and the growing opportunities stemming from it, has contributed to increased enrollment in the state’s business schools by students who are more often choosing to pursue international business majors. As a state emerging mightily onto the international stage, business students in North Dakota have every reason to expect their education to be highly valued in the coming years.
International Business Jobs in North Dakota
According to the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs from some of America’s largest corporations, 99,000 North Dakota jobs currently depend on international trade. Import-related service industries account for 34.9 percent of the state’s total GDP, which is almost four times as much as manufacturing. This shows the growing demand in the state for professionals with backgrounds in international finance and banking, global management and international business consultation, logistics and supply chain management and trade compliance.
The job sectors in North Dakota that rely most heavily on international trade are wholesale manufacturing and distribution of consumer products, finance and insurance, transportation and warehousing, professional and technical services, manufacturing and information technology:
- One of North Dakota’s leading exporters is Bueling Inc., a Fargo-headquartered company that promotes, distributes and services advanced agricultural equipment throughout the world from operational locales in 14 states and four countries.
- The Bobcat Company, which is headquartered in Gwinner, is a world leader in engineering, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of construction equipment. This international company, which is one of the world’s fastest growing global companies, has factories located in France, the Czech Republic and China.
- Phoenix International Corporation, headquartered in Fargo, is a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of custom, integrated electronics. It boasts 900 employees, five manufacturing and design facilities, and a massive, 75,000-square-foot production center in Fargo.
- Microsoft Corporation has operations in Fargo, where it has built a Microsoft Dynamics development center, an executive briefing center and a payrolls operations center. After its acquisition of North Dakota’s own Great Plains Software in 2001, Microsoft now employs more than 1,200 corporate professionals in its Fargo location where they have a team of accountants and specialists who manage both U.S and global payroll operations.
North Dakota’s International Trade Partners
As of 2011, the International Trade Administration reported that merchandise exports from North Dakota totaled $3.4 billion, with Canada being this state’s number one trade partner. Other leading trade partners included Mexico, Belgium, Australia and Germany.
Foreign-controlled companies operating in North Dakota employ some 10,900 workers and corporate professionals, with the major sources of foreign investment coming from multinationals based in Canada, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
The International Trade Administration listed North Dakota’s main merchandise exports in 2011 as machinery, oil and gas, agricultural products, food products and transportation equipment. The leading North Dakota metropolitan area in terms of merchandise exports in 2009 was Bismarck, followed by Fargo and Grand Forks.
Making International Business Contacts in North Dakota
North Dakota offers a number of resources to local and foreign owned companies interested in exploring new international business opportunities: