North Dakota Job Openings Decline, But There's Still A Worker Shortage

North Dakota jobs are still plentiful, but there aren’t quite as many as before and growth seems to have plateaued.

The state Job Service department issued their Online Jobs Opening Report for January of 2014, and the numbers are pretty interesting. They don’t represent the state’s entire job market, just “online job openings and resumés activity from North Dakota’s largest labor exchange system,” according to the press release. But still, it’s a pretty good sample for the state’s labor market as a whole, and what it shows is a serious worker shortage.

The total number of job openings is down slightly (see the map above), but there is still a big gap between the number of job openings and the number of workers looking for jobs.

“North Dakota’s rate of unemployed persons per job opening was 0.6 in December 2013, the latest month for which data are available,” reads the press release. That’s down slightly from 0.7 unemployed people per job opening a year ago. And while there’s no federal number available for comparison with the January 2014 number, in November of 2013 North Dakota’s rate was 0.4 while the federal rate was 2.9 unemployed people per job opening.

To put that in raw numbers, in January of 2014 the state had 16,877 open and available positions in January 2014, and just over 10,000 people who were looking for jobs. That’s a big gap, and while it’s a sign that the state’s economy continues to boom, it’s also a sign that a lack of labor is probably holding back some economic growth.

What’s really interesting is where the job openings are growing. All of the state’s most populated counties saw decreases, while the increases mostly happened in the rural areas.

Here are some other fun facts pulled from the report:

  •  Of the 22 non-military major occupational groups, Office and Administrative Support reported the largest number of job openings with 1,799, followed by Transportation and Material Moving with 1,769 and Sales and Related with 1,408. Three other occupational groups also reported job opening counts greater than 1,000 (Management; Installation, Maintenance, and Repair; and Production).
  • Two of 22 non-military major occupational groups reported over-the-year gains of 100 or more job openings. The Food Preparation and Serving Related occupational group reported the largest over-the-year decline.
  •  Divide County reported the largest over-the-year increase in the number of job openings with 193, followed by Morton County (+145) and Mercer County (+58). Twenty-five of 53 counties reported over-the-year decreases led by Burleigh.

Here’s the full report:

State Job Openings Report

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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