Heading into 2015 dropping oil prices have put a scare into North Dakotans who have enjoyed an economic surge built on the back of a boom in shale oil and gas development. But in 2014, at least, the state still had what was probably the strongest economy in the nation by just about any measure you care to mention.
Including the payroll-to-population rate, according to Gallup, which defines that term as “the percentage of the adult population aged 18 and older who are employed full time for an employer for at least 30 hours per week.”
The top 10 states for P2P tend to have several things going for them, economically. More than half of the states with the highest P2P rates in 2014 ranked in the top 10 for P2P in 2013, thus showing persistent economic strength as the country continues to recover from the Great Recession. Additionally, North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, Kansas and Iowa in 2014 all ranked in the top 10 states for P2P and bottom 10 for unemployment, indicating these states have particularly robust labor markets. North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Utah ranked in the top 10 on Gallup’s Job Creation Index, meaning the positive hiring situation in those states is particularly evident to workers in these states. Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming also boast the three highest per capita incomes.
Good stuff, though the question is where would North Dakota be without the oil boom? The state was no slouch in the unemployment rate department even before the oil boom when it routinely measured under 4 percent, but the state also had an aging, declining population meaning it probably wouldn’t have been at the top of this list.
Keep in mind that not only has North Dakota’s economy been booming, so has the population. The state has led the nation in relative population growth, and (more importantly in terms of this data) has also led the nation in terms of declining median age.
More people and, more importantly, more young people who are working-age.
Aside from the impact a younger state population has on the crime rates (crime indexes very closely to age), these are good things.