We are not out of the woods yet in North Dakota when it comes to labor market adjustments. Businesses and entire industries are still making changes to circumstances and situations so it should not be a surprise that it is happening with labor as well. This is a complicated dynamic with feedback between businesses and their customers that will present some problems.
What is happening in the state is pretty apparent. The fact is that after seeing initial claims decline from their immediate virus peaks we settled at a higher level of initial claims.
These higher levels are important to consider in terms of policy and approach to recovery. In the state, since the start of the year, there are a grand total of 101,344 claims filed. To put that in perspective the previous high I could find was less than 42,000 for a calendar year.
There is pretty clearly concern, if not outright fear, in both the consumer and business sectors of the economy, and they are feeding each other. We need to break this feedback loop as best we can until there is more permanent, tangible progress on the disease control front.
It is a pretty similar picture in Grand Forks county.
Perhaps Grand Forks is returning closer to the pre-pandemic levels of initial claims but there is fragility here like anywhere else. The total tally in Grand Forks for the year to date is 7,779 claims filed.
So I go back to what I said at the start, we are not out of the woods and there is a real chance things get worse before they get better.