North Dakota Unemployment Rate, April 2019

North Dakota’s unemployment rate is too low, or so I maintain. The extremely low level is an issue for firms thinking about locating into North Dakota. They would need to bid up wages to lure workers. The April data by county for North Dakota seems to suggest that unemployment rates remain low.

For the most part the rates are low across the state, especially in the major metropolitan regions. Rolette county is a bit higher than other parts of the state. The unemployment rate in the state is only 2.3% in April.

Barring a major transformation in the state economy it would seem to be a matter of policy concern to start asking if we are at full capacity for the economy. Without more labor or productivity gains it is difficult to see how output levels increase appreciably in the state.

It obviously seems counterintuitive to think about unemployment being too low. However, when viewed as a capacity constraint on economic activity I think it starts to make more sense and represent a potentially real brake on the economy and what it can do as far as growth.

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