Just time for a brief post right now. Obviously the major driver of the situation in western North Dakota is oil, oil prices to be precise. So what exactly is that relationship like? Here is a graph of Williston labor force and oil prices:
The oil prices are for West Texas Intermediate Crude. There is a best fit line as well as a 95% confidence interval. What we see is that as oil prices increase so does labor force in Williston and at an increasing rate. At some point, presumably, this would have to peak, and there is clearly plenty of variation in the data that will require further analysis. Next up will be looking at how these data relate to others, like the labor force in Grand Forks.