I reported a few weeks ago that North Dakota might have the best labor market in The Americas. Some new data suggest that the state’s labor market just got even a little bit better, if that’s even possible, the Peace Garden state might have the best labor market on the planet!
1. The BLS released employment data today for the nation’s 372 metro areas, and the three metro areas with the lowest jobless rate in October were all in North Dakota: Bismarck (1.7%), Fargo (2.3%), and Grand Forks (2.5%). Although not included in today’s BLS report of cities with population above 50,000, the state of North Dakota reported this week that the jobless rate in Minot (closest city to the Bakken oil fields) matched Bismarck’s rate of 1.7% for October for the lowest metro jobless rate in the country.
2. The state of North Dakota also reported this week that 21 of the state’s 53 counties had jobless rates in October of 2% or less, and the jobless rate in Williams County, in the heart of the Bakken oil fields, dropped to a record, jaw-dropping low of only 0.49%! That’s a jobless rate below 1/2 of 1%, which also means that 99.51% of the labor force in Williams County is working (45,900 payroll employees in a labor force of 46,158 persons, with only 228 workers being classified as unemployed in October), and is about as close to achieving “full employment” as you can get!
3. The chart above shows the growth in payroll employees in the North Dakota since 2007 (+27.1%) compared to the growth/decline in national payrolls (-0.40%). While the number of jobs at the national level is still below the employment level in January 2007 by more than 600,000 jobs (and 0.40%), payroll employment in North Dakota has expanded by more than 27%.
Bottom Line: Thanks to the state’s booming energy sector, North Dakota continues to deserve recognition as the nation’s “economic miracle state,” with the strongest labor market in the country, maybe in all of The Americas, and maybe in the entire world, thanks to America’s Shale Revolution. Carpe oleum
Update: I reported yesterday that there are now almost two job openings in North Dakota for every one unemployed worker, compared to 2.3 unemployed workers for every job opening nationally.