The City of Watford City ended 2020 with 36 single-family housing building permits issued. That is up from 25 in 2019 and the 0 issued in 2017. Many homebuilders in Watford City have been taking advantage of the JDA Housing Development Subsidy which was launched in mid-2019. Currently $1,550,000 of the $2,000,000 in program funds has been allocated.

The January Economy at a Glance is now available. Some data of note:
  • McKenzie County unemployment ticked down slightly from 8.5% in October 2020 to 8.4% in November 2020.
  • Taxable sales and purchases for 2020Q3 is down 52% from 2019Q3 taxable sales and purchases for McKenzie County.
  • Permits for City of Watford City for 2020 was exactly the same as 2019 at 320 permits.

Red Barn Liquor is the newest liquor store in town. They have a mission to provide the best spirit buying experience in North Dakota. They are located on the east side of Watford City at 420 Hunters Run Street, and are open 7 days a week.

Hundreds of youth livestock enthusiasts are expected to descend on McKenzie County on the weekend of March 6-7 for the North Dakota State 4-H Livestock Judging competition & Livestock Quiz Bowl. The events will be located at the McKenzie County Fairgrounds and the Rough Rider Center. Many in our community are excited to support this event and welcome folks from throughout the state.

First International Bank & Trust, headquartered in Watford City, has announced its plans for acquisition of Sodak Home Loans. This will be the first location in South Dakota for First International Bank & Trust which has locations in North Dakota, Minnesota and Arizona. See more in this Sioux Falls Argus Leader news article.


QEP recently donated $25,000 towards equipment for Project Lead the Way and other STEM activities for grades kindergarten through eighth at McKenzie County School District #1.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce has announced the Tourism Main Street Expansion Grant Program. The grant’s purpose is to support new or expanding businesses that provide an improved visitor experience, with an emphasis on attracting visitors to the core of a city or town. The grants are a 2:1 matching grant with a maximum award amount of $15,000. The deadline to submit an application is January 22, 2021.

A new grant has been announced for small businesses and enterprises affected by Covid-19 in rural communities. The LISC Rural Relief Small Business grants seeks to serve those especially those in underserved communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses that often lack access to flexible, affordable capital.

Over a dozen leaders from throughout McKenzie County toured the Bismarck Career Academy earlier this month. Leaders in McKenzie County have been looking for ways to increase the amount of career-specific training that can be provided in our community and wanted to better understand the multi-decades of success of the Bismarck Career Academy.

The December Economy at a Glance is now available.
Some data of note:
  • The total true and full value of property in McKenzie County has increased from about $2.69 billion in 2019 to $3.21 billion in 2020.
  • The McKenzie County labor force has decreased from 10,432 in October 2019 to 8,007 in October 2020.