Moody's Analytics declares ND in a recession, but recovering

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The sky isn't falling for North Dakota's economy. Instead, it's probably already fallen and is now getting ready to slowly rise again.

The boom is over. Moody's Analytics, the company the state hired to predict tax revenue, has declared the state is in a recession, but a turnaround could be coming. ​

Lagging commodity prices, both oil and agriculture have sent tax revenue crashing.

"That money is just not there. People are hunkered down and those companies are going to go into the survival mode that the operators have gone into because there is no upside looming," says Ron Ness, ND Petroleum Council.

At a meeting of the Advisory Council on Revenue Forecasting, a Moody's representative said that oil prices should hit $50 per barrel by the start of 2017.

Lynn Helms of the Department of Mineral Resources says that will lead to more fracking which should help the next biennium. Still, he predicts the state will still only average 30 rigs for the year.

Agriculture producers income in the state, however, has also plummeted about 90 percent or more than $3 billion.

"It is time to be wary on these kinds of things because we don't know what the next Brexit is or the next problem in Europe or China or somewhere else because those economies have all cooled quite a bit," says Neal Fisher, ND Wheat Commission.

Overall, Moody's predicts the state will emerge from recession by the end of 2016, but will under-perform compared to the rest of the country for the next several years.

If all goes well, the early predictions have the state returning to 2012 levels of taxable sales by 2019. As for this biennium, the state is now $100 million behind a recent revenue forecast. A new forecast is due out in the next week or so which could lead to further budget cuts or even a special session. ​