Currently viewing the category: "Unemployment"

There is not much to say about this months employment/unemployment table except that all of the northern plains is in relatively good shape.

When I say in relatively good shape the Minnesota unemployment rate has a lot of room for improvement, but compared to much of the nation their unemployment rate is a good improvement over the past three years.

South Dakota, although not as good as their sister state of North Dakota, has a significant improvement over the past few years and usually ranks among the best in the nation. So too Montana, and the oil county I show (Richland) looks like North Dakota.

North Dakota, because of the continuing oil development, remains the best state in the northern plains and the nation in terms of the unemployment rate and the increase in jobs.

That is not just a decrease in unemployment, but a real increase in the number of people working in the state. The other factor different than in most states is that North Dakota continues to have an increase in the average disposable income per capita.

Most states that are back to having the same number of jobs as there was before this recession find that the recovered jobs are paid at a lower rate than the jobs that were lost. In North Dakota, driven by the high wages in the oil patch, essentially all jobs have increased in remuneration. It is probably only those retired on not much more than social security payments whose standard of living has declined. The rest of the population is well ahead from a decade ago.

 

If you read the national and regional news there isn’t much I can add here for the employment report for the northern plains. Well, some detail that most readers probably know, but just to emphasize here it is:

North Dakota is still growing. There is some growth that is explainable, but I am not sure about some of it. For instance, the growth in Fargo, the size of the growth is a little hard to understand compared to the rest of the country. The only thing I would say is that town is continuing to be the Twin Cities furthest northwest suburban area and Minnesota, especially the Twin Cities metropolitan area, and more, has had good growth the past year. I think Fargo and Sioux Falls are benefiting from that growth. Good for North Dakota.

Good for South Dakota, too. Probably it is more accurate to say even “gooder” for South Dakota. Unlike North Dakota, South Dakota doesn’t have those four bigger towns and then a few medium size. Instead, it has one big town (Sioux Falls) and then several bigger towns that have significant economies.

Of course South Dakota doesn’t have the oil boom economy and its growth hasn’t been as dramatic as North Dakota’s, but it has had a good recovery and it shows with the good unemployment rates in those “bigger small towns”.

While the wild growth days of the oil boom in North Dakota is gone (as planned for), but there is still plenty of growth left. There are suppose to be 25,000 plus unfilled jobs still in the state. What happens this fall could create a change if voters take an anti-growth attitude. It will be interesting to see what happens and could give journalist a lot to write about for the next two years. As for me, I don’t expect that, at least to any significant degree.

In the meantime, here is the report for this month, and as I said about the state revenues report last week: “Second verse, same as the first, a little bit….

 

Last year, 2013, the Grand Forks city building permit dollar value totaled just over $212 million. That was a record for the city. This year to date, that is January through April totaled nearly $79 million while in that record last year in the same time period the amount was not quite $24 million. That is, through April the amount is over three times last years figure at the same time.

Now with so many projects already started there is probable fewer projects that the contractors have the time to enter into yet this year, plus we don’t know what the weather holds for us. Still…? Imagine, especially if local contractors can get more help, or if contractors come in to Grand Forks to bid on contracts what this would do for the years totals.

True East Grand Forks is down by about 20 percent, but that was higher than normal last year because of one large commercial project. This year there is nothing there. That is what happens with one project in a small town. East Grand Forks building has been what we should expect as an average on a year to year basis.

Anyway, this is great for Grand Forks, and really the entire metro area. Things like this can go a long way towards making up for the lack of Canadian trade. I think we have a good year coming, or really already started, here in Grand Forks.

 

Well, the northern plains remain what is probably the best area of the country as far as unemployment being a problem is concerned.

Of course when I say that North Dakota remains the best as far as a low unemployment rate. Mostly that is because of the continuing oil expansion. It also has been because a great agricultural period that is now starting to slow down, significantly.

Minnesota has had one of the best employment improvements compared to most of the other states. Their state budget surplus is great and their unemployment rate is among the best in the U.S. South Dakota and Montana are really a little of each.

One thing about the farm states in the past is that when there were not jobs available you simply packed up and moved on to where there were jobs. Of course there were jobs in those other places then. Today, probably not, so when it is time to move on from Jamestown or Devils Lake will there be any place to go? Maybe to a limited degree Fargo and even Grand Forks for the industrial jobs. Maybe Williston, Minot, Dickinson and other towns in the Patch if there still is a demand out there at that time. Otherwise in a generation or two we will become just another state of unemployment.

In the meantime, here we are, still in the good times. North Dakota continues to lead the way in employment growth, personal income, and tax

 

We are not there yet. At least we weren’t in February. Of course in the depths of winter, one of the worst winters in a long time what do you expect, but boy is this country lucky. Just think of all the American men and women who are alive today because of The Bakken, oil and gas.

I just read recently that America will reach a point of being a net exporter of oil. Just think of those long lines at the gas pump. Think of all the articles, the dire articles that were written about our future. Yes, others will gain as well, and some of them are not too nice, but with the proper leadership, well things are looking good again for America.

That doesn’t mean we can not be concerned about global warming, or at least studying the science to see if it is true. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t design safe pipelines, or tank cars. But just think of how much better the American economy is today because of fracking. All those railcars, all those pipes, all those people employed. All that money including in our taxes. Especially what we are setting aside for our children and grandchildren, even great grandchildren.

What will they write about us in the books a hundred and two hundred years from now.

So, here is the current data. Now it will get interesting as we go into the summer.