Last week I was part of a business roundtable for Congressman Kevin Cramer. There were several topics discussed but I presented some information about the labor force in the North Dakota metropolitan and micropolitan areas. I calculated three-year and one year monthly growth rates and then projected out the labor force based on those rates. This is an inherently linear projection method which is less than desirable but the inherent nonlinearities in the ND data are somewhat difficult to identify.
A recent report out by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (available as a pdf here) looks at the connection between state tax rates and migration between states. Or maybe it does not. They find little connection between changes in state tax rates and the migration between states.
North Dakota’s economic performance and success is not news anymore. Well, alright, its news, but most people know about it. I have given interviews to media outlets around the country and the world about it, as have many others. So it is not a secret. So if there was an economic motive to migration, and there often is, people already know about it. Here is a graph of ND population change, migration in, and migration out. I calculate migration out as the difference between migration in and total population change.
So I took a look at the labor force data for the metropolitan statistical areas in North Dakota. That would be Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks. Not content with that I also looked at the labor force data for the micropolitan statistical areas in North Dakota (Dickinson, Jamestown, Minot, Wahpeton, and Williston). I also looked at the state labor force data too.
Anybody that knows me is aware of the importance I place on population metrics in the sphere of economics. We do not get demand without people. Supply does not just miraculously appear, people work and make goods and services. So it is not overstatement when I say there are fundamental ways that people matter for economic outcomes. Every so often though, we go into an odd place. I recently attended a presentation by a Chief Economist for a mutual fund company and he showed a graph qualitatively similar to the following,