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North Dakota Earns S&P's Top Credit Rating of 'AAA'

Press Release

Location: Bismarck, ND

Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced today that Standard & Poor's Rating Services has upgraded North Dakota's credit outlook to its highest rating of "AAA.' North Dakota is one of only 15 states to currently hold Standard & Poor's top credit rating. North Dakota's credit rating was upgraded from the second-best rating of "AA+'.

The financial services company and major credit house also has upgraded North Dakota's appropriation debt rating and obligation debt rating to better reflect the state's "very strong capacity to meet financial commitments."

"Standard and Poor's latest analysis reflects the great progress we're making in North Dakota," Dalrymple said. "Because of our strong economy and sound fiscal management, we are able to make historic investments in education, statewide infrastructure improvements and many other priorities. At the same time, we are maintaining strong reserves and providing the people of North Dakota with unprecedented tax relief."

In its latest ratings report released today, Standard & Poor's Rating Services said North Dakota's upgraded credit and debt ratings take into account the state's strong economic metrics and sound government management.

"The stable outlook reflects what we view as North Dakota's strong government framework and management, strong budgetary performance, and enhanced reserves," Standard & Poor's Rating Services reports. "In our view, North Dakota's stability throughout economic cycles has long been a positive credit factor, and performance through the recent recession was stronger than nearly all state peers."

Other factors in the state's rating upgrades include North Dakota's unemployment rate, the lowest in the nation and the state's per-capita gross state product, a primary measure of economic production. The ratings report says that North Dakota's gross state product has averaged 7.1 percent growth during the past 10 years while the nation has averaged 1.6 percent growth in the same period. Improvements to the state's pension funds also contributed to the ratings upgrades, the report says.

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