The 2015 ACS data came out from the Census Bureau in mid-September and gave us lots to chew on for the state of North Dakota. The four counties reported in the 1 year data are Burleigh, Cass, Grand Forks, and Ward. All three counties gained population from 2014. Cass increased the most with 4,507 more people, while Burleigh increased by 2,488, Ward by 1,891, and Grand Forks increased by 778.
I enjoyed my guest hosting duties on the radio today and wanted to follow-up on a question from a caller. The caller wanted to know how many people were currently working and paying into Social Security and if the number were lower than in the past and, as a result, causing some of the financial woes for the program. Actually the number of workers paying in right now is the highest it has been, but what I told the caller to pay attention to was the number or workers per retiree, or beneficiary. The OASDI trustees report (available here) gives all this information, but I boiled it down to a simple graph.
JT tends to ask me the following question: “What worries me about the outlook for ND?” Over the last few years I answered that there was not much. That was then, this is now. North Dakota hit its first oil price catastrophe for this round of the oil boom and we are watching to see the consequences. One of the issues that worries me has to do with the demographics for the state as a whole. In this piece I will focus on the 65-and-over population and later on we can talk about other dimensions.
JT and I talked many times about pensions and the unfortunate arithmetic behind most defined-benefit pensions. We keep seeing issues arise with the pensions in places like Detroit, or now Illinois. To reiterate, I have no issue with the defined-benefit pension plan in theory. The issues I have focus on the management, or should I say mismanagement, of the pension plan. The mismanagement really falls into two categories: investment of pension fund assets bordering on fraud and, a seemingly willful ignorance about the changes in life spans for people (in this case plan recipients).