North Dakota Has Almost Three Job Openings For Every Unemployed Worker


I wrote about the State of North Dakota’s latest job openings at today:

BISMARCK, N.D. — The latest unemployment figures from North Dakota paint a familiar picture for citizens of the oil-rich state. A rock-bottom unemployment rate, and far more jobs than available workers, have become common themes.

“The nation’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.9 percent for September, a slight decrease from prior month,” a Tuesday press release from North Dakota Job Service states. “The seasonally adjusted rate for North Dakota was 2.8 percent in September, unchanged over the month and year.”

That unemployment rate qualifies North Dakota yet again for the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, coming in more than a half percentage point lower than South Dakota at 3.4 percent.

The report also documented 8,933 unemployed workers in the state for September. The state’s online job openings report for September counted 25,837 open positions, an increase of 12.1 percent over a year ago.

Counting online job listings alone, the state has 2.89 open jobs for every unemployed worker.

Of course, the labor shortage has had a big impact on personal incomes in the state. Sure, rents are higher in some areas among other costs of living, but the income growth has been unbelievable of late particularly when compared to the rest of the country:

In March, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released a report showing North Dakota’s personal incomes have nearly doubled over the past decade, to more than $57,000 per year. That’s a 93 percent increase from 2003 when incomes in the state were $29,569 per capita.

More remarkable is that North Dakota’s booming incomes come at a time when income growth is slowing in the rest of the country. Nationally, personal income growth slowed from 4.2 percent in 2012 to 2.6 percent in 2013, but North Dakota nearly tripled the national rate at 7.6 percent.

The state also was double the second-ranked state, Utah, which saw 4 percent growth, according to the BEA.

This has been going on for years now in North Dakota, to the point where it’s almost not even news any more. In fact, when I wrote about these same numbers back in March, the ratio of unemployed workers to job openings was about the same. But eventually, this won’t be the norm. North Dakota’s booming economy will fall back down to earth. Let’s hope it’s more of a slow decline to strong, but less explosive, numbers than a crash.

But until then, wow.