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Numbers in the Bakken are showing significant optimism again. Hiring and wages are up, as are service company sales, and production is set to hit an all-time record this year. In 2018, the Bakken promises to have among its best years and because of better pricing, industry infrastructure and costs, the Bakken will be a formidable competitor in world petroleum markets for decades to come.

This is promising news for North Dakota as 80,000 people go to work every day in the industry and taxes paid by it are once again far ahead of forecast.

Yet, the growth is not without its challenges. As oil industry growth continues, recruiters will compete against a strong national economy to get workers here. We must be prepared with funding and planning to build high-quality communities capable of recruiting workers.

Something you may not know, since the last census, two of every three new North Dakotans has moved to western North Dakota. They are most often young adults who have made the region and state among the youngest in the country. However, they, like young adults anywhere, want houses, not only apartments, and activities in the community. So too, the growth in their numbers demands new investments in good schools, because, like anywhere, young adults create young families, leaving even our newly-built schools in western North Dakota at full capacity.

There are few industries that can offer very high paying jobs, a tremendous economic benefit to a region, and high tax revenues like the oil industry does. It has grown North Dakota immensely in the past decade and will continue to do so in the decades to come with the proper amount of investment in its communities and the right balance of regulation.

Brett Tinnes, Minot