Oil Price Impact: North Dakota Has About 1,500 More Unemployed People Than A Year Ago


The latest numbers on North Dakota’s job market are out, and the state has seen a slight decline in the labor market from a year ago, but not as much as you might expect given some of the headlines about falling oil prices.

I’m guessing most states in the nation would like to have a job market this strong. This is from the report, and keep in mind that the national not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was about 5.3 percent.


North Dakota’s unemployment rate is up slightly – 0.3 percent – from a year ago while the number of employed people in the state is down 1,559. Clearly, falling oil prices are having something of a negative impact on the state’s employment situation, but certainly not a dramatic one yet.

The number of unemployed people in the state changed an almost identical amount, increasing by 1,497 people.

To give you some context, here’s the trend for total employment versus the civilian labor force from 2000 through May 2015 (the gap between these two lines would be those counted in the unemployment rate):



Whether or not 2014 was a peak or just an edge to a valley in the trend line hinges on the extent to which oil prices recover.

Still, the unemployment rate remains very low, and that would suggest that there are still plenty jobs to fill. In fact on the opposite end of the state from the oil patch the Fargo area is reporting a worker shortage.