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Published August 19, 2012, 04:09 PM

Federal Reserve officials tour Bakken region

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis says the economic activity going on in North Dakota's booming oil patch is different than anywhere else in the country.

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis says the economic activity going on in North Dakota's booming oil patch is different than anywhere else in the country.

Narayana Kocherlakota's comment followed last week's tour of the area between Minot and Williston where various companies are drilling for oil. He and his staff toured the area to see firsthand what is going on in a region affected by their economic policies. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis oversees the Ninth Federal Reserve District, which includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

"Obviously, what's happening here in the Bakken — we took a tour today between Minot and Williston — is quite special," Kocherlakota told The Williston Herald. "Just the level of economic vitality is quite different here relative to anywhere else."

But the oil patch's impact on the district may not be as great as some people think, he said.

"When you do the calculations, if you're thinking about the Ninth District as a whole, there's just a limited amount that what's going on here can influence that entire economy," he said. "The population of the Ninth District is about 9 million people, the population of North Dakota is about 600,000, and then we get into western North Dakota, and it's an even smaller slice than that."

Kockerlakota also noted that western North Dakota's boom will at some point become a bust. He said people should be prepared for that to happen at some point by investing what they have now.

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