Bismarck: The Town the Recession Missed

As the economy flails in most of the U.S., it's business as usual for North Dakotans. Cruising through the recession on the 47th parallel

Dan Koeck for TIME

A shopper fills her cart at a Bismarck home-improvement store

It's tough to find a foreclosure sign in Bismarck, N.D. Banners announcing "Now Hiring" are much more common. Over at the mall, the Scheels sporting-goods store is so busy on weekends that some shoppers have sworn to go only during the week.

Want to make jokes about North Dakota? Sure, the state's got three times as many cattle as people, and a typical day in January is a balmy 20°F. But the folks who live here, unlike those in many other parts of the country, have jobs. And not only haven't they felt the bite of the housing-market collapse, but their...

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