The jobs bubble in North Dakota has grown much larger than has been reported, but no one is certain how much bigger it’s getting to be. Jobs in North Dakota tend to trend up and down with oil prices  North Dakota Job Services has estimated that the state’s current jobs bubble is 14,000 statewide.  A significant number of companies and agencies do not use Job Services to list their positions at all.


The USS Montana SSN 794, a nuclear attack submarine, is currently under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding. The submarine is anticipated to be commissioned as part of the U.S. Navy fleet in 2020. The Virginia Class submarine will cost about $2.7 billion.


A new partnership between the Montana State University and Bozeman police departments will form a joint Special Victims Unit that will allow detectives from both agencies to work together to investigate major crimes in the city and on campus, with an emphasis on investigating sex crimes.  According to MSU Police Chief Frank Parrish, detectives in the SVU are specially trained to handle the complex issues that arise when people become victims of violent crime. The team approach will help SVU investigators see patterns and trends, he said, while improving the thoroughness and consistency of investigations across jurisdictions.


A new Burger King is under construction in Sidney and will open by the end of September. Retail Investment Group LLC , Scottsdale, Ariz. is building the business at 857 N Central Avenue.


Dovetail Construction, a Bozeman-based construction company, has announced a new partnership with Big-D Signature and its parent company, Big-D Construction, one of the nation’s largest construction companies. Dovetail Construction is owned by childhood friends Tim Rote and Kevin Sullivan. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Big-D Construction is headquartered in Salt Lake City. The firm is currently working on its largest project to date – The New SLC Airport Redevelopment Program, a joint venture with Holder Construction. Big-D Signature specializes in building resorts and private estates. Dovetail and Big-D Signature will be working with JLF Architects, Bozeman.


Manufacturers, exporters and business leaders from across the Treasure State gathered in Missoula for Manufacturing and International Trade Day, hosted by the Montana Manufacturing Association (MMA). The MMA is a subsidiary of the Montana Chamber of Commerce. Awards were handed out for the Exporter of the Year and Manufacturer of the Year. Blackhawk! in Manhattan was named the Manufacturer of the Year and SRS Crisafulli in Glendive was awarded the Exporter of the Year.


North Dakota natural gas production hit another record high in March even as oil production dropped. The state produced more than 2.1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, with companies flaring about 12 percent of gas produced. Oil production dropped about 1 percent in March to 1.16 million barrels per day. With oil activity anticipated to increase this summer, Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms said he expects crews will be building needed infrastructure. “We’re going to see another surge of workers from out of state laying pipelines, and building compressor facilities and building gas plants,” Helms said.


The North Dakota Public Service Commission granted approval for Oneok to proceed with the Demicks Lake natural gas processing plant, a McKenzie County project that was approved three years ago but put on hold when commodity prices dropped. The plant is permitted to process up to 400 million cubic feet per day. The Demicks Lake plant, one of five natural gas processing plants under development in North Dakota, is expected to be complete during the fourth quarter of 2019.


Williston ND’s Sloulin Field is seeking additional airline service. Anthony Dudas, director of Williston’s Sloulin Field International Airport said they are currently limited to a 50 \-passenger airplane, which means passengers often get bumped. The city’s on-going expansion of a new XWA airport will allow them to accommodate larger planes. The project completion date is scheduled for October 2019. Delta and United, are expected to offer expanded service. “We’ll be looking at the opportunities to provide service to Houston as well as the possibility of providing connection to the west,” says Dudas. Retail options, including a restaurant, are also planned for the new Williston Basin International Airport. They also hope for lower fares.


Plans for the redevelopment of Williston’s existing airport, Sloulin Field, were unveiled earlier this month. Those plans include a civic center and hotel, affordable housing, green space, and a retail promenade. 


The state of Montana collected record lodging tax revenue in 2017 — $30.7 million – from a record number of travelers — 12,475,000.  Visitors stayed an average of 4.7 nights in hotels, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals across the state, according to the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. Most of the tax collections are used to promote Montana tourism, through the Montana Department of Tourism and Business Development, but 3 percent of the tax go into the state’s general fund. The state spends about $12 million annually on tourism promotion.


Bozeman’s former National Guard armory building in downtown Bozeman is being  refurbished into an 8-story boutique hotel, which will include event space and two restaurants. Cory Lawrence, CEO of a Bozeman travel company, Off the Beaten Path, is the primary principal, of the new venture, Etha Hotel, which is located at the corner of Mendenhall Street and Willson Avenue. The design, is being done in keeping with the 1941 style of the original architect Frank Willson. It calls for 17,000 square feet of event space with an American bistro. A former band room will become a speakeasy-style pub, while the building’s roof will have space for a bar or restaurant. The attached steel-frame hotel will include 122 rooms and likely a pool. Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants will operate the rooms and eateries. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.


The Gallatin Association of Realtors statistics for April 2018 reveal increases in units sold and sales prices and a tightening inventory of available homes. Single-family sales jumped 46.7 percent in April 2018 compared to last year, going from 92 to 135, and the average sales price in the single-family market increased 22.4 percent. Condo/townhouse sales increased 45.3 percent, rising from 53 to 77, and the average sale price in the condo/townhouse market increased 12.7 percent.


The number of new single-family listings in April 2018 decreased slightly from 181 to 167 compared to April 2017, a 7.7 percent drop. The number of pending sales fell only 1.2 percent, from 172 to 170. The number of units sold increased 46.7 percent, from 92 last April to 135 this year. The average number of days on market was 75, the same as last year, while the month’s supply of inventory decreased 21.2 percent, from 3.3 to 2.6.


The population in Williston is expected to increase 23 percent by 2022, and infrastructure and resources continue to adapt. The community has seen a surge in births since 2012, and to meet the demand, CHI St Alexius announced last week the expansion and transformation of its outpatient birthing center into an inpatient facility. Once open, the new birthing center will provide greater options to residents.