Times are good in NORTH DAKOTA, a rural state with a booming economy thanks to the controversial but incredibly lucrative fracking oil industry (it’s now the second biggest oil-producing state in the USA, after Texas). With an astounding state surplus of US$1 billion and unemployment at just three percent, ad-hoc “man-camp” settlements and sky-high property prices have become the norm, fuelling fears of a boom-bust economy. With a population of less than 700,000 and a harsh winter, for now the state’s tourism industry (as in Canada, its northern neighbour) only really operates in the summer, and though drilling rigs and pumpjacks dot the landscape in the western part of the state, there’s plenty here to attract visitors.

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