In a recent post I discussed the level of annual salary in several categories for North Dakota and some of the implications. I also discussed the rank for the overall average salary. As many of my students would likely think, there is a need to make a correction to those numbers. There are two things that can vary for those annual salary numbers, the distribution of the workforce and the compensation by occupational category. Continue reading More on North Dakota Wages—Standardized Comparisons
As I consider the current state of the North Dakota economy as well as the economic outlook, I continue to think about labor market issues. Last week on the radio the discussion of wages resonated with the audience, and is obviously a key factor in relieving labor constraints. Realistically, internal demographic issues (low birth rates, outmigration, etc.) and environmental issues (North Dakota winters tend to be cold) could be resolved by appropriate levels for wages. The precise amount of compensating differential is not my target right now, I am just recognizing that such a circumstance could exist.
I argued before that North Dakota is labor-constrained. My thinking on this went through multiple iterations, and I continue to try and refine this. In particular the data to demonstrate this most clearly just may not exist at this time, but I continue to pursue it. Here is the state of wages from Q1 2017 by county in North Dakota.
I testified in front of the state legislature forecast committee at the end of July and gave my feedback on proper process improvement North Dakota could, and should, make. Each of the items I mentioned could be an entire discussion on its own which makes testimony under a time limit a bit of an issue. And then I realized, I have a blog, so I can extend my thoughts as needed. The first point to discuss further is forecast horizon.
The three frequent readers of my blog over the last several months probably noticed a repeating theme to my posts: population. A logical question to ask would be, why this focus? Quite frankly, and this is my opinion, population is the root of economic activity and the very economic actors we attempt to model.
Americans Are Dying Younger, Saving Corporations Billions – Bloomberg
This is a really important article for businesses, but especially those in North Dakota. With a long reputation of "greying faster than the country as a whole" it raises the question of whether businesses in the state, or the state, would reap similar (potential) benefits. The simple fact is that we continue to see errors made in terms of benefit contributions and shortfalls in pensions, even in North Dakota. We can do the math better and we should.
Many people ask me about the challenges for the North Dakota economy moving forward. This is much more difficult to do than it may seem; there are no easy answers here. There are many reasons for this. What seems to be an problem now may resolve itself of its own accord in the near future. It could also be the case new problems arise as a result of federal policy or technological innovations. As Yogi Berra said, “Predicting things is hard. Especially about the future.”
As part of a deeper look at many factors related to North Dakota economic development, growth, and, for lack of a better term, “transition” I am looking at a broad set of data (even broader than normal). Think of it as a jigsaw puzzle where you do not know the number of pieces ahead of time and do not know the end picture you need to assemble. That is kind of where I am right now. That said, I thought I could share a recent picture I made.
For those that question the impact of the oil boom, I offer up this post on birth rates. Now the answers are not quite as obvious as you might expect. It is probably important that you recall my earlier post about the net migration by county for North Dakota (found here). The beginning year for our look at birth rates is 2011 where we see the leaders in birth rates are counties with sizable Native American populations. There is, as yet, no boom in the Bakken area, and there is a remarkable degree of consistency as far as rates across the state.