Anybody listening for five minutes likely knows how little I enjoy talking about housing, in particular affordable housing. The way the Grand Forks addresses the issue is haphazard and ill-thought out, looking for answers without actually defining the problem. I am all for addressing issues, but let’s do it in a meaningful, carefully thought out way. Let’s understand the problem before we decide on a solution.
I originally gave this post the title “My new favorite graph” but figured that was too vague and nondescript. Most of my readers, and anyone who listens to the Jarrod Thomas Show (KNOX 1310 AM, Grand Forks), know I look at lots of graphs and lots of data. It is actually what I do to unwind. Pair that with the attention oil gets in the media (local and national) and you get my new favorite graph.
What better way to start a discussion about a mistaken declaration of recession in North Dakota than with a misquote of Twain. For those interested the actual quote from Twain was “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” We have to be very careful here and define terms well to have a meaningful discussion about this. This is not meant as a “rah-rah” piece and suggest that everything is, or will be, alright. That said, I do not think the North Dakota economy is currently in recession. Nor do I think it will be this year. However, I would agree that the risks of a recession for this year, and the next, increased.
I am often asked about the relative position of oil and other industries in the ND economy. Usually this is me being asked to settle a dispute between industries as to who is more important or some such nonsense. However, the issue of oil in the North Dakota economy is worth revisiting right now given the decline in oil price and the effects on the state revenue forecast.
A caller to the radio show last week questioned why the North Dakota economic experience seemed is such stark contrast to the Minnesota situation. (She asked this while almost getting hit by a school bus breaking traffic laws.) There are a couple of reasons for this, one pretty easy to explain on the radio, and the other is visual and so is not as easy to explain. I should point out the two stories are not in opposition to each other. That is, they can be part of the same larger narrative.