#29 North Dakota

7.75 out of 10 in Taxation and Regulation

6.83 out of 10 in Workforce Quality

7.83 out of 10 in Living Environment

Right to Work?

Tech Flies High

While it’s one of the most sparsely-populated states, North Dakota has one of the fastest- growing economies in the nation and is fast becoming a hub for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The state invested $13 million for infrastructure projects to establish the UAS training academy at the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park in Grand Forks. Northrop Grumman plans to expand its UAS operations in the state with a new hangar and research facility in Grand Forks. Other smaller UAS companies, such as SkySkopes, are setting up shop in the region.

From the Governor

“In order to help our students succeed in a global economy driven by dramatic, rapid and powerful changes in technology, we need to harness new approaches and new possibilities to provide students with innovative, project-based, experiential learning opportunities that better prepare them to be global citizens and lifelong learners.” —Gov. Doug Burgum

Key Industries

Agriculture, Aviation, Biotech, Energy, Manufacturing

Key Companies

Investors Real Estate Trust
MDU Resources
Titan Machinery
John Deere
ComDel Innovation
MBI Energy Services

Key Contacts

Dept. of Commerce / Economic Development & Finance Division

Jay Schuler, Commissioner
1600 E. Century Ave., Suite 2
P.O. Box 2057
Bismarck, ND 58503
[email protected]

Key Incentives

Renaissance Zone Program: Offers state and local tax incentives for five years for businesses that purchase, rehabilitate or develop properties in designated areas.

Workforce Recruitment Credit: Offers a credit of 5% of the compensation paid during the first 12 months to an employee hired to fill a hard-to-fill position. Salary must be at least 125% of state average wage.

New/Expanding Business Income Tax Exemption: Offers an income tax exemption for up to five years for a primary sector or tourism business that adds value to products or processes in the state.

Property Tax Exemption: Offers exemption on property tax for up to five years for a new or expanding business project for agricultural processors or for a project located on property leased from a government entity.


North Dakota Department of Commerce, Economic Development & Finance: business.nd.gov

Economic Development Association of North Dakota: ednd.org

Bismarck-Mandan Development Association: bmda.org

Greater Fargo/Moorhead Economic Development Corp.: gfmedc.com

Highlighted Program or Initiative

Grand Sky was founded in 2016 as the country’s first commercial UAS (unmanned aerial systems) business and aviation park. It is being used by some of the world’s top UAS companies to test and develop new UAS technologies.

Big Deals

  • Midcontinent Communications announced in January 2017 it will construct a $12 million data center in Fargo.
  • Arrow Field Services announced in January 2017 it will construct a $100 million natural gas processing plant in Keene.
  • North Dakota Soybean Processors announced in February 2017 it will add 60 new jobs and invest $287 million in a new processing plant in Spiritwood.
  • Border States Electric announced in April 2017 it will create 50 jobs and invest $18 million in a new headquarters in Fargo.
  • Northrop Grumman announced in July 2017 it will invest $3.2 million and create 30 new jobs to expand at the aviation park in Grand Forks.

C-Suite Testimonials

“We are delighted to officially begin operations here at Grand Sky, cementing our leadership in the development and use of autonomous systems in partnership with North Dakota’s UAS Community….We’ve long been a supporter of UAS and other activities in this region, including our relationships with area colleges and universities and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.” —Janis Pamiljans, Corporate Vice President and President, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems

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