Tag Archives: outlook for Dickinson North Dakota

The Truth About What Is Going To Happen To Dickinson, North Dakota

It is tiring, frustrating, and upsetting to me, to continue to see people in Dickinson refusing to recognize and acknowledge what is going to happen to Dickinson, North Dakota.  I don’t want to see anyone being taken advantage of, and that is the way that I look at what people are attempting to do in Dickinson, to deceive others for financial gain.

Why can’t everyone just accept and admit, that Dickinson already experienced an oil boom in the 1950s and the late 1970s, and that after each of these oil booms Dickinson experienced a contraction in the economy, many people losing high paying jobs, businesses closing, people moving away, property decreasing in value and becoming difficult to sell.  This most recent oil boom ended in 2015, there will be a continued decrease in the population of Dickinson, but no one will admit this, and everyone is pretending that this isn’t going to happen.

The very wealthy owners of the local banks in Dickinson, most of whom do not live in Dickinson, have already put in place lending policies that show that they understand what is going to happen in Dickinson: many people losing their jobs, many people moving away, properties decreasing in value, and properties becoming difficult to sell.  I will give three brief example of these local bank lending policies:

I wanted to purchase a manufactured home in Belfield on its own 75’x140′ lot that was for sale for $20,000 to $25,000.  This treed and grass corner lot with water, sewer, and electric to it was probably worth $20K, without even considering the 3br, 1ba fully furnished home in good condition with new siding, added enclosed porch, and added open deck.  I contacted five local banks, and each one of them said that they had been instructed to not make any loans on manufactured homes, no matter how much land was involved.

A neighbor of mine who is 53 years old, wanted to purchase a home in our neighborhood that was for sale for $130,000.  This neighbor had made about $45,000 per year for the past eight years with his current employer.  He is single, and he had just finished paying about $900 per month in child support for the past fifteen years.  If he continued to allocate this $900 per month toward house payments, he could have paid off this house mortgage in fifteen years.  The bank told him no, as if his income and eight year job history at the same company in Dickinson didn’t mean anything, like they were expecting him to lose his job and not be able to get another job.

Another neighbor of mine who is in his forties and single, he has made about $42,000 per year for the past four years with his current employer.  He wanted to buy a house, so he completed a mortgage application with a local bank.  The bank approved him for a mortgage of up to $80,000.  If you go on the internet and use a mortgage calculator, this $80,000 mortgage would have a monthly payment of less than $400 per month.  With a single man having a take-home pay after taxes of $2,700 per month, why would the bank calculate that he could only afford $400 per month on housing?  It’s like the bank didn’t expect him to keep his job, or be able to get another job.

From the three examples above, the local bank lending policies indicate that they don’t expect local people to keep their job, be able to get another job, and the banks don’t want to foreclose on properties in order to sell them to recover the unpaid balance on loans, because these properties will not be worth the unpaid loan amount, and these properties will not sell.

There are people and groups in Dickinson that like to talk about how Dickinson is growing, which isn’t going to happen the way that they say it is.  Dickinson is going to shrink and contract for at least the next several years.  I am tired of hearing about several specific examples of growth and prosperity in Dickinson, which in my opinion, these examples are hoaxes, as they aren’t going to happen any time soon:  the Davis Refinery, the Odyssey Theaters Cinema Complex, and the Dickinson Hills Shopping Center.

I have written about, and explained the proposed Davis Refinery west of Belfield twice before.  The original proposed cost of the Davis Refinery was $900 million, twice the cost of the Dakota Prairie Refinery west of Dickinson which was built by the huge utility company Montana Dakota Utilities.  How was the proposed $900 million Davis Refinery going to be built, by an investor group who had never built a refinery before, who were in fact seeking initial investments to help cover the cost of permitting and planning?  My personal opinion is that the proposed Davis Refinery developers have only raised $10 million to $40 million.

A year or two ago the City of Dickinson sold a public parking lot located behind the U.S. Post Office to Odyssey Theaters, supposedly so that they could build an 8 cinema movie theater complex.  Most people in Dickinson have noticed that there is a shortage of parking downtown, even more so now that the City of Dickinson sold a public parking lot that was almost always full.  Where are the customers of this proposed 8 cinema movie theater complex going to park?  Construction was supposed to start this Spring, meaning now, but I don’t think that construction will start this year.

The developers of the proposed Dickinson Hills Shopping Center asked the City of Dickinson about a year ago if the City would pay for the extension of Fairway Street into their development.  The City agreed to pay for this $1.3 million road extension if the developers could show that they had lease commitments from tenants.  A few months ago the City Attorney Jan Murtha did look over signed lease agreements from Hobby Lobby, T.J. Maxx, Shoe Department Encore, and Dollar Tree.  My opinion, is that although these four tenants signed valid lease agreements, there was no penalty to the developer if they did not move forward with construction.  My opinion, is that the developer wanted the access road into their proposed development, so that they could sell this property, and not move forward with construction at this time.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, his Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, and Wayne’s cousin Stephen Stenehjem CEO and president of First International Bank & Trust, have all had to deal with embarrassing business fiascoes in Dickinson many times in the past several years:  Dickinson State University awarding degrees to foreign students who did not complete the required curriculum;  the DSU Foundation having to be dissolved and held in receivership to determine what was going on and where the money went;  Hawks Point Assisted Living Facility on the DSU campus failing to repay their loan from First International Bank & Trust;  DSU and the DSU Foundation failing to repay their loans for the construction of the Biesiot Activities Center.

People in Fargo and Bismarck are very aware of the business practices and outcomes in Dickinson, North Dakota.  The Catholics collected and spent over $75 million in Federal grant money and donations to construct a new hospital in Dickinson, shutting down the old hospital.  Many knowledgeable health care employees and residents in Dickinson came to realize that the old hospital that was shut down, had more emergency medical care capabilities, more critical care capabilities, more medical treatment services, and a building with a basement that could withstand a tornado.

Therefore, when a group business people and Dickinson State University people got together and created the Theodore Roosevelt Foundation in order to raise funding to build a Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Dickinson, the Governor of North Dakota stepped in and stopped that, No Way.  The people in Fargo and Bismarck are fully aware of how the people in Dickinson are.  No way were they going to allow a group of people in Dickinson to collect millions in government grants and donations, obtain construction loans, overpay contractor buddies to perform work, get a substandard inadequate facility, not repay the construction loans, and not be able to account for where all of the money went.

It’s not just the business practices in Dickinson that the rest of the state takes notice of, it’s how the people in Dickinson behave and treat other people.  This is another reason why the Governor of North Dakota intervened to not allow the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum to be built in Dickinson, because of how the visitors would be treated in Dickinson and how the people behave in Dickinson.  Here are some examples:

  • During the oil boom, the people in Dickinson quadrupled the rent that they charged the out-of-state workers.
  • During the oil boom, the people in Dickinson voted to not allow “Man Camp” temporary worker housing in the county to alleviate the housing shortage.
  • Though many, many people in Dickinson received windfall sums of money from oil wells on their property, the people in Dickinson deliberately refused to construct a homeless shelter.  Out-of-state workers who could not afford the quadrupled rent, slept in their cars, underneath bridges, in the bushes along the railroad tracks, on the embankments of drainage ditches, or outside behind the truck stop.
  • When the ratio of men to women in Dickinson was 3:1, the Dickinson Police made a fake advertisement for a woman offering sex on the internet. When a man called to arrange to meet her, the fake woman made up the statement that she was under 18.  The Dickinson Police then tried to charge the man with Commercial Sex Traffic of a Minor, a twenty year sentence, and he never even met the woman.
  • The bars and restaurants in Dickinson hire methamphetamine addict and heroin addict criminal women from Spokane, Seattle, and Coeur D’Alene to work as servers, performing no background checks.
  • The employers in Dickinson hire drug addict felons with multiple convictions, performing no or inadequate background checks.

Because of the end of the oil boom, the population of Dickinson will continue to decrease for years to come.  The people in Dickinson refuse to acknowledge this, and they even point to signs of growth which are actually hoaxes, that will not happen.  The very wealthy successful people like the local bank owners know what is going to happen in Dickinson, and they have practices in place that indicate they expect an out migration.

The Governor of North Dakota, the Attorney General of North Dakota, other wealthy successful people in North Dakota know all about the business practices in Dickinson, the business schemes of the people in Dickinson, what they do with government grant money and donations, how they don’t repay loans, how they are unaccountable for money, how the people in Dickinson treat other people, and how the people in Dickinson behave.  Not only did they intervene to prevent the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum from being built in Dickinson, they wanted to close down the Women’s Correctional Facility in New England, and they will probably seek the closure of Dickinson State University before long.

In the near future, Dickinson will begin to change more toward what New England, Belfield, and Richardton are like.  You don’t understand, this is what the wealthy, successful, influential people in Bismarck and Fargo want.  They do not want Dickinson to grow, they want Dickinson to shrink.  Not only do they not like Dickinson, and do not believe in Dickinson, they don’t want the oil revenue money from western North Dakota being wasted on improving Dickinson.  As far as they are concerned, they would like to see Dickinson as just unimproved grassland, and all of you Dickinson people gone, because you just can’t seem to change and get with the program, you remain backwards.

The Best Seven Years For Dickinson, North Dakota

In 1996 I moved to Tampa to work for a company as an engineer.  I rented an apartment on Lake Magdelene in north Tampa.  Up until the 1950s, most of north Tampa was hundreds and hundreds of acres of orange groves.  As Tampa grew continually, it pushed northward into these orange groves.

This area of Tampa was very beautiful, or it had been.  There were probably nearly one hundred small lakes, ranging in size from fifty feet across, to Lake Magdelene which was about one mile in length.  Besides citrus trees like orange, tangerine, kumquat, lime, and grapefruit trees; banana trees, palm trees, oak trees, oleanders, dense hedges, ornamental plants, ferns, and flowers filled these middle class and upper middle class neighborhoods.

By the time that I moved to Tampa in 1996, Hillsborough County had grown to nearly one million people.  At this moment in time, the character of Tampa was about to change significantly.  The area north of Tampa, the orange groves and small lakes, was almost completely developed.  These very traditional, beautiful, comfortable suburban neighborhoods that had been built from the 1960s through the 1990s were done.

An unbelievable and unprecedented amount of new development began in what was called “New Tampa”, to the north west, on the west side of Interstate 75.  On the west side of Interstate 75, there were thousands of acres of cattle pasture and swamp land, this became “New Tampa”.

Every housing development in New Tampa was a “gated community”.  You exited Interstate 75 onto Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, and drove west until you reached the entrance to the gated community in which you lived, turned in, and drove through the entrance past the guard house and gate.  This entrance was the only way in, and the only way out.  Each gated community was surrounded by a combination of walls, earth berms, and tall hedges.

Besides being protected behind the walls, earth berms, and gates, or you could look at it as being a prisoner, which was often the case when you tried to leave in the morning during rush hour, these gated communities featured “McMansion” architecture.  “McMansion” architecture is where cheap construction methods and cheap materials are used to create intentionally tall entry ways and high roof peaks, to make a home look enormous and expensive.

I believed that I had arrived in Tampa about twenty years too late.  On weekends when I was living on Lake Magdalene, I would ride my bicycle through these beautiful thirty year old neighborhoods, with quiet tree lined streets, natural lakes in the backyards, community tennis courts, and small orange groves here and there.

In these thirty year old neighborhoods, everyone knew everyone on that street, and the next streets over.  Husbands and wives bought one of these houses when they were in their thirties, and stayed there even after their kids moved out, they retired, and became old.

Some of these houses were large five bedroom, three bathroom houses, but most of these houses were modest and unpretentious.  Due to the economy and nature of Tampa, with large corporations, an international airport, McDill AFB, international sea port, and professional sports teams, neighbors would have been doctors, lawyers, engineers, airline pilots, military officers, ship captains, or professional athletes.

For adults in these neighborhoods, especially the wives, it would have been very enjoyable to be able to socialize with so many other adults with similar education, professional level, income level, interests, and values.  Parents in these neighborhoods did not have to worry very much about where their kids were, because all of the parents watched all of these kids.

After school, and in the summer, the kids in these neighborhoods, could have gone swimming, fishing, canoeing, water skiing, sailing, or played tennis.  I don’t think there would be any question that each of these kids was expecting and planning on going to college, because that is what all of the other kids did, and that is what everyone’s parents had done.  There would not have been aimless, depressed, self-destructive, drug addict, hoodlum kids around.

So I would have liked to have been either a kid or an adult living in one of these middle class neighborhoods in north Tampa from 1960 to 1990.  I think that I would have been happier as a kid or an adult living among peers with the same interests, values, beliefs, and goals, in this warm, safe, beautiful environment, doing things that I like to do.  But after 1990, no way, Tampa became too huge and overwhelming.

I want to point out, that these middle class adults who lived in Tampa from 1960 through 1990, with their education, professionalism, values, beliefs, interests, and goals, they caused Tampa to thrive, and double in size.  Though these adults created and loved their quiet, peaceful, happy, suburban neighborhoods on the north side of Tampa, the growth that they caused, changed the character of Tampa, to something that they would not have liked, the “gated communities” with the “McMansions”.  However, they would have acknowledged there was no way to be able to stop this, it was inevitable.

I also want to point out, that the kids who grew up in these beautiful, safe, fun, middle class neighborhoods on the north side of Tampa, where everyone’s parents went to college, and everyone was going to go to college, that these kids were so solidly grounded, that I think that they could do O.K. living anywhere.  What I mean is, I think these kids all turned out so well due to the constant positive influence of their peers and the other parents, that I think these kids as adults could cope with living in an unpleasant city or urban area.  ( I base this belief on my experiences attending the University of Florida on a campus with what was then 35,000 students, where some students thrived and some students could not cope, not because of intelligence level, but because of their backgrounds.)

When I was living in Flagstaff, Arizona, which I loved, I also felt that I arrived there twenty to thirty years too late.  To save time, I could say that everything about Flagstaff was wonderful.  However, beginning in about year 2000, real estate prices began to skyrocket.  And from what I have been told, growth has just continued non-stop to this day, making not just the price of real estate a problem, but now over development is a problem too.

The best, most enjoyable years to live in Flagstaff, were probably the 1960s through the 1990s.  The town, the forests, the mountains, the beauty, the lifestyle, the people, the weather were all so enjoyable, that this is what led to real estate skyrocketing, and the over development.  It was just inevitable.

Finally, getting to what this blog post was supposed to be about, “The Best Seven Years For Dickinson, North Dakota.”  From 2007 through 2014, there was an Oil Boom in Dickinson, North Dakota.  Though there was an “Exploration Boom” in North Dakota in the 1950s, and there was a “Gas Price Oil Boom” in North Dakota in the 1970s, this most recent oil boom has had the most significant and greatest impact on Dickinson.

How can I say that 2007 through 2014 was “The Best Seven Years For Dickinson” ?  To begin, prior to 2007, the average hourly wage in Dickinson was probably about $8 per hour, with no opportunity to work overtime.  There were very few job openings, and very few opportunities to get a higher paying job.  There was no way for most Dickinson residents to get ahead financially.  It would have been difficult for most Dickinson residents to even be able to save enough money to get out of Dickinson and try to move some place else.

In addition to there being mostly only low paying jobs, with very few opportunities to get a higher paying job, everything in Dickinson was controlled.  The wealthy families in Dickinson, and the influential families in Dickinson, controlled who got hired, who got fired, who got a promotion, who got demoted, who got recognition, who got blame, who got arrested, who was not prosecuted, who got a home loan, who got a car loan, who was evicted, and so forth.

When the Oil Boom began in 2007, it was almost like the Dickinson residents were released from bondage.  There was such a demand for workers in the oil field, that any able bodied person in Dickinson could get a job immediately for at least $16 per hour, which is about twice the average hourly pay of $8 per hour, plus, they might be allowed to work as much as 40 hours of overtime each week.

Some Dickinson residents, who were in their forties, who had always been kept down in Dickinson, always receiving low pay, never getting a promotion, never being able to get a better job, never being able to get a home loan, all of a sudden went from making $320 per week, to making $2,000 per week.  And for once, there was no wealthy or influential family in Dickinson who could stop them.

When the Oil Boom began, a graduating high school student who would not have been able to find a job in Dickinson, could now get a job earning as much as $1,400 per week working in the oil field.  A graduating high school student who would have had no car, and had to live with his parents, could now get a job working in the oil field, buy a very nice truck, and rent their own apartment.

Once the Oil Boom began in Dickinson, young couples were each able to obtain good employment, get married, and buy their own home.  Older couples were each able to obtain good employment, pay off their credit card debt, pay off their car loans, and pay off their home loans.

Due to families in Dickinson owning farms, or having retained mineral rights, oil well lease signing checks and revenue checks, began earning many families in Dickinson thousands or tens of thousands of dollars each month.  Farmers purchased completely new farm equipment, trucks, and travel trailers.  Some families dispersed this monthly oil revenue money to their children and grandchildren.  Many family members in Dickinson receiving oil revenue money purchased new vehicles, motorcycles, travel trailers, did home remodels, or paid for their kids to go to college.

Due to the amount of oil field work in and around Dickinson, many new large warehouse buildings were built, new office buildings were built, new restaurants were built, a new shopping center was built.  About five new hotels and fifteen new apartment buildings were built.  Local land owners, real estate agents, and construction companies made money on these new building projects.  Some local residents started and grew their own oil field service companies and construction companies.

During this Oil Boom, the City of Dickinson was able to build one of the nicest recreation centers in the World.  It has two indoor swimming pools, one outdoor swimming pool, skateboard park, ice skating rink, two indoor tennis courts, three indoor racketball courts, four indoor basketball courts, one volleyball court, indoor golf simulator, rock climbing wall, indoor track, cardiovascular equipment area, weight lifting gym, aerobics studios, and child day care.

The City of Dickinson was able to build a new Police Department, have a new water tower, pave many roads, widen roads, add stop lights, build a new school, and have a new County Fairground.

Would I have wanted to be in Dickinson from 2007 through 2014?  Yes, I would have, especially if I would have been a resident of Dickinson.  I was in Dickinson on and off from 2011 until now in 2018.

Unlike my story about getting to Tampa too late, where Tampa kept growing and growing, or my story about getting to Flagstaff too late where Flagstaff kept growing and growing, I got to Dickinson too late, because Dickinson is contracting.

In my stories about Tampa and Flagstaff, conditions in these towns were so good, that it was inevitable that they would grow.  In Dickinson, conditions are so bad, that it is seems inevitable that Dickinson will decline.

One of the reasons why I am writing this particular blog post, and the way that I am writing it, is because the people in Dickinson do not know that 2007 to 2014 will likely be the best years that Dickinson has ever had, or will have.  I began with the two stories about Tampa and Flagstaff, to explain the inevitability of places changing, even if you do not want them to go in the direction that they are going in.

In the case of Tampa, there was so much continued growth because of the regional economy, low cost of living, good climate, recreation, entertainment, night life, fine dining, shopping, professional football, professional baseball, professional hockey, international airport, international sea port, U.S. Central Command McDill AFB, and the University of South Florida.

In Flagstaff, the continued growth had nothing to do with the regional economy or cost of living, neither of which are very good, it was the beauty of the town, the Coconino National Forest, the snow skiing, trail hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, the clear blue skies during the winter, the nightlife, friendly downtown, diverse and well educated population, low crime and no riff-raff hoodlums.

In Dickinson, after the Oil Boom ended in 2015, many of the oil field jobs went away, many oil field workers returned to the states where they came from, and subsequently other jobs went away in other areas of the economy.  The amount of oil field jobs continue to decrease, as do other jobs in other areas of the economy in Dickinson.  As there are fewer jobs in Dickinson, and a greater supply of workers than demand for workers, we are seeing the wage rates steadily decrease in Dickinson.

As there are fewer oil field jobs, fewer jobs in other areas, and wage rates are decreasing, the old practices of nepotism, favoritism, discrimination, prejudice, and exclusion in hiring, promotion, lay offs, and home lending are beginning to emerge again in Dickinson.

The people in Dickinson are unfriendly, the Police in Dickinson are encouraging people to leave Dickinson, the Police in Dickinson are discouraging people from going out at night, the restaurants are not very good, the restaurant servers are not very nice, there is shortage of women, there is scarcity of attractive women, the real estate prices are high, the real estate prices are likely to fall, there is too much crime in Dickinson, little entertainment, few recreation activities, and it is cold and grey for about seven months of the year in Dickinson.

The population of Dickinson is decreasing, Dickinson is contracting, and this is just going to continue.  The people in Dickinson refuse to see this or acknowledge this.  Some people believe the Oil Boom will come back.

In order for Dickinson to not contract, Dickinson would have to be a place where people would want to move, and stay.  Here are some changes that would be needed:

  • The Police in Dickinson need to find a way to stop the crime and drug dealing in Dickinson, without following, surveilling, and stopping non-criminal, law abiding people.
  • The Police in Dickinson need to find a way to allow adults to go out to restaurants and sports bars at night to socialize, without following, surveilling, and stopping them on their way home.
  • The people in Dickinson need to stop being mean and nasty to other people in general, and to cease nepotism, favoritism, prejudice, discrimination, and exclusion in hiring, firing, promotion, and bank lending.
  • The people in Dickinson need to stop being out-of-their minds as far as real estate prices in Dickinson.
  • The banks in Dickinson need to grant home loans to people who demonstrate that they can make the mortgage payments.
  • The restaurants in Dickinson need to stop using jaded, rough, mean drug addict women as servers, especially the ones from Spokane, Seattle, and Coeur D’Alene.
  • Dickinson needs to be a city that promotes health, such as hygiene, exercise, and fitness, and discourages smoking, tobacco, illegal drugs, over use of alcohol, and over eating.
  • Dickinson needs to be a city that promotes education, awareness, and spirituality, and discourages ignorance, hate, and Catholicism.
  • Dickinson needs to be a city that encourages women to be beautiful and friendly, and discourages women from being ugly, glaring, and scowling.
  • Dickinson might need to have a strip bar, just so men can see what women are supposed to look like, maybe they have never seen one, or they have forgotten what they look like.
  • Dickinson needs to have a good Italian restaurant.

Dire Warning About Living And Working In Dickinson, North Dakota

I have been looking at the job posting websites North Dakota Job Services, Indeed, Careerbuilder, Monster, Rigzone, and LinkedIn almost every day in April and May.  There are very few jobs listed for Dickinson, Watford City, and Williston.  April and May are the busiest hiring months in Western North Dakota.

There are usually several job listings for registered nurses, CDL drivers with at least two years experience, and mechanic field service technicians.  About every other week there is a listing for a journeyman electrician, or a heavy equipment operator.

I would estimate that there are 30% to 40% fewer job listings for Dickinson in April and May of 2017, than there were in April and May of 2016.

I would estimate that there are 60% fewer job listings for Dickinson in April and May of 2017, than there were in April and May of 2015.

I want to warn everyone in Dickinson what I think is going to happen.  The construction workers, electricians, equipment operators, mechanics, oil field service workers, plumbers, truck drivers, and welders that are currently employed in Dickinson, will keep their jobs through December of 2017.  Then there will be a winter work slow down like there always is, with reduced work hours and lay offs.  However, I believe that at least 20% of these workers will not have a job to return to in Dickinson in the spring of 2018.  There will not be enough work in Dickinson.

Any of the workers in these trades can go look at every job posting website that they can find, and they will see that there are very few job listings for these trades in Dickinson, Watford City, and Williston.  They have got to realize that there is not a high demand right now, in the busiest hiring months, and that there has been a steady decline in demand for these trades in Dickinson since 2014.

Everyone in Dickinson needs to know what is happening now, so that they can figure out what they are going to do.  Retail workers, restaurant workers, sales people, service workers, and professional workers need to realize that there will be a decline in demand for workers in their professions in Dickinson.

I recommend that everyone in Dickinson try to save money now and conserve money now through the remainder of 2017, with the expectation that at least 1 out of 5 people will lose their job in Dickinson in 2018.

I recommend that even if you have a job now in Dickinson, that you begin thinking about, and doing research about where else you might try to live.  Talk to friends and relatives who live elsewhere about what things are like where they live.  Get information from people you know, but don’t just take their word for it, look on the internet at what jobs are available in different areas.

In doing research about different areas and what jobs are available, I caution readers that though it may look like Dallas has more job openings than Williston, you must realize that Dallas has a population of 1 million people, and Williston has a population of about 20,000 people.  There might be several hundred applicants for a job in Dallas, whereas there might be forty applicants for a job in Williston.

I wrote a couple of blog posts on this website about “How To Go To Work Out Of State” about eight months ago.  In those blog posts, I suggested that if your family has a home, friends, and relatives here, it may be a better idea for the primary income earner to go to work out of state, and let the family stay behind.

It is easier and safer for the father to go to work out of state by himself, and let the family stay behind.  It is much easier for one adult to get very cheap housing, housing that would not be safe or appropriate for a family.  When going to work out of state, you don’t know what your employer, co-workers, and work conditions will be like, and you may not be able to stay in your new job.  You may have to re-locate again unexpectedly, and it is much easier to do this if you are by yourself.