North Dakota Employment over the Trump Presidency

With the Trump Presidency complete we can take an early look at the changes in employment occurring during that time in the state of North Dakota. There were many things going on in North Dakota over this time including a commodity cycle impacting both the oil and agriculture industries. The picture in the state is similar to the picture for the country as a whole, which is really interesting. North Dakota is clearly not as diversified as the entire country and so the fact that a commodity intensive economy and a more diversified national economy display similar attributes is not what you would expect.

The similarities in decline continue into recovery. The picture of a possible further decline in the state is also a concern for future growth at this point. The nonfarm employment number is down 5.4% while the private employment is down 6.6%. These are steep declines, especially considering they include the partial recovery.

What is interesting here is the need for national policy and state/local policy coordination. There is a great deal that can be done within the state, but limited recovery is likely in the absence of coordinated economic policy at the national level. There are private sector issues at work here too in terms of changes in demand as a response to the pandemic. There are just so many changes it is difficult to isolate individual level effects.

What is clear is there is more work to do, both on my part in terms of investigation of causes, but also at the policy level.

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