Executive Vice President
AGC of North Dakota
Commodity prices—oil and agriculture—are the key drivers of the North Dakota economy. With those sectors in a slump, the area’s construction economy will be impaired for the next couple of years, Hanson says. But the 2020 construction season started early due to an early spring and ideal weather conditions, causing no project delays. “While many state governments were shutting down projects due to COVID, North Dakota construction has worked continually during this pandemic. However, the great optimism felt from 2019 legislation known as Operation Prairie Dog, which utilizes a portion of oil revenue to fund infrastructure projects, has been tempered,” he says. “The ‘silos’ to fund those projects were expected to be available by mid-2020. But with falling oil prices and decreased production, it looks like late 2021 is a best-case scenario.”
The Fargo area will continue to see construction zones in 2020, with a number of road projects underway. However, with more people working remotely and the economy damaged by the pandemic, private investment is likely to decrease for a couple of years, Hanson says.