ND County Unemployment Rates, May 2019

Unemployment is one of the most frequently discussed economic statistics though it is of questionable value in terms of economic forecasting or even as any kind of indicator right now. The labor markets are so strong there really seems to be little value to the measure right now. It is also through contrast or consistency over time that the measure is of the most value.

Rolette County is the high outlier in the state right now. There are two very cool spots in the state right now. Just to be clear, cool is good since it means low unemployment in this case. The western part of North Dakota and the eastern part of the state are clearly very low unemployment, in fact they are too low for my liking. While the higher rate counties are in the middle third of the state the rates, by and large are not very high either.

The consistency over time is another important factor.

Many of the counties are up, ever so slightly in the last month. Sheridan saw a large drop and Sioux saw the largest increase. Again the overall scale of these is that they are relatively small even in percentage terms.

North Dakota unemployment rates remain low for the most part, and tell the continuing story of a state with inadequate labor resources. This is a story we have seen played out for the last decade or more with a significant amount of growth and development likely left on the table.

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