Robert Romano: Lift Wages With Growth, Not Government

INNOVATION, NOT REGULATION …  By ROBERT ROMANO || A picture is worth a thousand words. “Walmart: Now hiring, $17 per hour.” No, that is not Photoshopped.  It is an actual help wanted sign from Williston, N.D.  The story is the shale oil boom taking place there that has resulted in…


By ROBERT ROMANO || A picture is worth a thousand words.

“Walmart: Now hiring, $17 per hour.”

No, that is not Photoshopped.  It is an actual help wanted sign from Williston, N.D.  The story is the shale oil boom taking place there that has resulted in an explosion of demand for labor, a surge in property values, and a bevy of new construction.

In fact, North Dakota North Dakota leads the nation in the growth of home values at 8.3 percent year over year as of September, according to Freddie Mac.  And it is also the envy of the post-financial crisis economy with the lowest unemployment rate anywhere at 2.8 percent in October, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The simple reason is growth.  North Dakota went from a field production monthly total of 2.6 million barrels of oil in September 2004 to almost 36 million barrels in September 2014 thanks to shale oil fracking.

There was no hike in the minimum wage there — it remains $7.25 an hour.  No onslaught of wage and hour regulations.  No redistribution of wealth or stupid tax credits or welfare.  Just innovation and growth that has created over 136,000 jobs — a 40 percent increase — in the past decade in an area so sparsely population it barely registers on the electoral college.

To put those 136,000 jobs into perspective, it outpaced the growth of population in the state.  That is to say, everyone who moved to North Dakota or came of age there has pretty much found a job.

There is such a shortage of labor there that, yes, to fill certain shifts Walmart is willing to pay people $17 an hour.

Now, with oil prices crashing in the past many months on weakening demand globally, one might expect a slowdown in production, a cooling of home values if not a drop, and a slowdown in wages.  Perhaps a temporary increase in unemployment.

But the point stands.  Legitimate growth in production over several years created a surplus demand for labor, a surge in wages, and a boom for housing.

(To continue reading this piece, press the “Read More …” icon below).

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.  This piece (reprinted with permission) originally appeared on

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The Keyboard Clowns December 5, 2014 at 8:45 am

$17.25 an hour? That would be a pay cut for welfare and benefit tramps like Smirks and euwe :-)

euwe max December 5, 2014 at 12:39 pm

You bet! I make $75/hr – it’s not much, but I am my own boss and I get Elvis’ birthday off.

Smirks December 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Does Haley pay you less?

Look Before You Leap December 5, 2014 at 8:50 am

A search and review of all the on line information about jobs and living cost in ND, everything out there is so expensive (housing in short supply, food, other services), its not worth it unless you have some other high skill revolving around construction, oil rigs, engine repair, etc: Winters out there are like the North Pole.

Diesel Technician (Dickinson ND) compensation: $70,000 to $110,000• Diesel Mechanic
• Dickinson ND
• $70,000-$110,000 DOE
• Well-equipped shop environment
• 3+ years experience

A truck dealership in North Dakota is looking for Truck Mechanic. You will be responsible to perform complex preventative maintenance tasks, troubleshooting and repair a variety of equipment and trucks.

Buz Martin December 5, 2014 at 9:12 am

The article, conveniently for the author’s main premise, leaves out any mention of the oil-drilling tax break enacted by the state of North Dakota in 2007.

Will, how is this different from a Nikki Haley “job producing” tax break for new businesses in this state?

Smirks December 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm

The bennies go to people that ALG likes, that’s the difference.

“Limited government for thee, but not for me!”

Buz Martin December 5, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Just like Nikki has nothing to say about gubmint spying in people’s bedrooms. Unless it’s hers or one she’s in with somebody not her husband. Or so informed sources with advanced cases of Trikki Nikki’s Jones of the Bone” disease tell me.

FastEddy23 December 5, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Not all “tax breaks” are what they appear to be. That the state of North Dakota has allowed the various big and small oil companies to explore, drill, frack and pump without the usually excessive “normal” tax costs of leases, inflated property taxes and special short term incentives to do business … well, too damn bad.

Consider that the rates North Dakota charge the oil companies (all of them) is no greater than that of, say, Kansas (which also has a minor fracking boom) or Pennsylvania (which also has a major natural gas fracking boom on its hands) … or Texas or Colorado or Wyoming or Montana or Utah (except for the fed extras charged on fed “owned” lands …

euwe max December 5, 2014 at 12:48 pm

One way to increase wages – besides making it practically impossible to live there, would be to fund more wars so that workers become more scarce.. to *really* increase wages, the wars should be with China and India.

When everything but service jobs are done overseas, service jobs are all that is left. Since those are the only jobs left, the number of people trying to get them goes through the roof, allowing employers to reduce wages to poverty levels.

Growth, as you’ve pointed out several times, is not felt by the people. That’s because corporations aren’t paying taxes on their profits, and they aren’t hiring Americans for the jobs that are left over after automation.

There’s no magic rule that forces the existence of a job for everyone who needs one, (even if they “are trained for it.”) – reality doesn’t restrict itself to behaving like some kind of board game, according to rules derived from some kooky political philosophy that’s never been tried.

When you eliminate jobs in the middle, the jobs at the bottom pay less.

Bible Thumper December 5, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Has fits been a victim of a denial of service attack? I’ve been getting database errors for two hours. I went to SCPD to try and get my heroin “fix” but got Drano instead.

Cyber Units Know Who December 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Likely the children at Clemson mad about Sic’s Tucker report (have traced attacks originating from university computers before), or its Harrell’s cronies. Just look at what was reported on last time Fits was hit and compare. Obviously, he has someone angry over being exposed. Its normally children who resort to such conduct.

shifty henry December 5, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Could it be Thomas Ravenel making good on his promise/threat to Fits?

shifty henry December 5, 2014 at 3:56 pm

A notice/warning on my screen mentioned the FBI Alert. That’s when I thought Fits had gone too far with info from his “sources”.
Glad you’re back up, Fits, even if it’s risky!

PS to All Agencies: You may check my background reports on file — I have nothing to hide..!!

FIB December 6, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Done. We’ll be in touch. We have a question about a cow named “Bessie” in your freshman year.

FastEddy23 December 5, 2014 at 12:58 pm

It’s working now!

Jack December 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

This is a really dumb article. The reason they have this situation in ND is the oil boom. You can’t recreate that unless you have a unique situation, like they do in ND. i.e. A huge need for labor, a small population, shortage of housing, shortage of transportation and nobody wants to live there.

Besides in normal circumstances corporations would not allow this to happen. They do not want to share that much with employees. We just had a fantastic employment report, but still no wage inflation in site.


After inflation the average American makes about the same thing he did 30 years ago. Increased minimum wage would be good for the middle class, not for large corporations.

johnq December 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm

The fact that you think this is a great wage to live on shows you are from one of the lowest wage ignorant (red) states. Let’s see how that works for you in 2016.

Smirks December 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm

One week blasting the evil “green energy subsidies” that goes to wind turbines, the next sucking heavily-subsidized Big Oil’s dipstick. No surprise, NRD tied to ALG tied to Kochs tied to oil.

But remember, these guys are looking out for you! Liberty! Freedom!

idcydm December 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm

I guess if a person really wanted a job they could find one.

RogueElephant December 8, 2014 at 8:28 am

” I guess if a person really wanted a job they could find one.” Having been up and down the ladder in my younger days , I can identify with that statement. I had three companies close down under me, left a few dog jobs for something else before landing a lasting job. It might not be what you want to do but it will work out. Don’t get bogged down in a job. When one door closes , another will open. Opportunity can come in a suit or overalls, be ready to grab on and ride.

Native Ink December 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm

$17 an hour starting wage at Wal-Mart? I think someone added a 1 to that sign.

Beartrkkr December 6, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Let’s see, a booming oil industry coupled with a relatively small population = shortage of workers. They are the 19th largest state with only a population of a little over 700,000 people (about the same as Charleston County and Richland County combined).

High demand, low supply….simple economics.

RogueElephant December 8, 2014 at 8:21 am

Reaganonomics at work. “A rising tide lifts all boats.”


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