We are getting a new forecast this week for tax revenues in North Dakota. Or so we are told. I’ve written about the problems with these forecasts in the past, but there is a further issue here needing discussion. The simple fact of the matter is a lack of good practice in the overall approach, particularly with how forecast results are disseminated.
This is something that JT and I talk about quite often relating sports and economics. The public subsidies for sporting arenas are difficult to make up in the best of circumstances, and are equally (if not more difficult) to quantify. Our sports facility management class actually attempts to address some of these issues.
The Bureau of Labor Statistic released updated data for North Dakota today, and as promised I am posting an update to the data from last week. Not much changed really. The preliminary unemployment rate for December 2016 is 3.0% which is the same as the revised rate for November. The November value was originally 2.9%. We are not going to get upset by a .1% revision.
I thought I would add another brief look at the data on North Dakota’s labor market before we close up the year with new data releases next week. Once again these data go through November of 2016, and start in the immediate aftermath of the problems in the oil industry.
Just a brief post about employment since the oil boom ended. As we are all aware we went right into a bust after the boom, which is not always the case, but that is a topic for another day. With that in mind I looked at the employment data since that time, essentially early 2015. Now keep in mind there were significant gains made, and I am not even close to claiming that we gave up all the gains, but we can identify the specific change event so it makes sense to look at variables after that event.
Yesterday’s post (found here) mentioned Grand Forks retail and the fact that sales were behind last year’s level. As a recap, the accumulated total of monthly collections in 2016, when compared to the same month in 2015, were all lower, and in some cases by significant amounts. Collections from a few specific months were ahead of the same month the year before, but the accumulated total never got higher than 2015.
Since I am sure store closures is a story that will continue I took a look at some recent data regarding retail. It is also the case that my friend Richard Carpenter (whose blog I linked to in the past and you can find in the blogroll list) asked me about some of the numbers in this situation.
Clearing out more of the questions asked on the radio lately. The announcement of the closure of the Macy’s in the local mall set some callers into fits. Their issues and questions ranged from: Is this a harbinger of future closures in Grand Forks and/or Fargo; to: this mall has inadequate numbers of stores and the wrong kind. There were lots of other issues raised too, so let’s clear a few of these things up right now.
The legislature is in session and there is a natural concern about policy in the state, and hopefully even greater concerns about the data employed to make the policy decisions. With the first round boom in the state’s oil industry over there are now significant discussions about the path forward. Obvious questions include: what is the likelihood of eventual recovery in the industry? How will an oil recovery impact the larger economy? These are great questions to ask (and there are many more), though they are actually quite complex to answer. Let’s consider some recent population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.