Quality of life can be improved through a strong economy that revitalizes communities, encourages business investment, and provides employment opportunities for a competitive workforce at all skill levels.
North Dakota has been enjoying a robust economy, characterized by a flourishing energy development sector, in addition to strong agriculture, real estate, and government sectors. Communities rely on the strength of their economies to generate financial resources to provide employment at all skill levels and services for their residents. Maintaining a high-quality standard of living in all aspects of life – from housing, to health, to education – is influenced by a strong economy. Likewise, the vitality of our economy hinges on the continued success of all aspects of life as well.
Investment in early childhood and later in education helps to ensure a skilled workforce enabling participation in our diverse economy. Providing access to high quality education will also expand economic opportunity for residents. Research suggests that individuals with higher levels of education are better able to compete for high quality jobs and more likely to obtain jobs with better working conditions, benefits, and opportunities for advancement. Education is an investment in the future of the state, because workers with higher incomes contribute more through taxes over the course of their lifetimes. Higher incomes are also associated with better educational outcomes for children, improved health outcomes for all residents, in addition to many other advantages.
Educational attainment is also strongly related to U.S. unemployment rates. The more education a group has, the lower the unemployment rate. Those without a job, especially residents without assets or a second worker in the household, may experience hardships such as high debt, health consequences, hunger, foreclosure, and even homelessness.
Multiple studies have shown that people living in poverty also tend to have more hardships, such as poorer health, dying younger, and poorer economic, social, and physical conditions. Furthermore, poverty is associated with an increased risk of homelessness, crime, and illiteracy. Poverty rates are associated with the general condition of the economy. As the economy grows, so do opportunities for employment and income growth.