After the boom comes the bust, or so we are told. One of the more interesting questions for North Dakota is the extent of the pain, if any, felt during the bust, and how it ends up distributed across the state. To help answer this question we need to continue analysis of the circumstances of growth in North Dakota during this century. Call it a Nearby Economic History. A better understanding of the process of economic growth in the state is 1) important in its own right (knowledge for its own sake is seldom bad), and 2) potentially useful information as the state discusses policies going forward.
Let’s get this out of the way at the start: the information contained here is not a predictive model of the outcome of the election and it is nothing official from UND. It is me on my own time putting this together because of some of the questions from JT on the radio show. As far as the predictive aspects, there are too many moving parts and too little data to adequately model the outcome at this point. We can develop numerous rules and test them as outcomes, but at the end it will still be a subjective probability model.
A few listeners brought up the issue of housing prices in Grand Forks, which as we all know is just my favorite topic. I thought that it would be important to discuss again for a few reasons. (This is likely a longer post, you might want to get out now.)
One of the questions I hear constantly has to do with the impact, or potential impact, of an industry on the local economy in Grand Forks. To be clear, there are no clear rules on which industries will have the highest impact. There are multiple factors influencing such outcomes, such as the supply chain factors in the local economy, the response of the consuming public, whether the business is in a “new” industry from the perspective of the local economic portfolio or will be competing with existing firms, and so on.
I am making a presentation to a group of retired UND faculty this morning on the topic of oil and the North Dakota economy. It is more of a free-flowing discussion than a chalk-and-talk format so I will add interesting comments later after I hear them. Oil is clearly a transformative event in the North Dakota economy. We can have an argument about the relative importance of different sectors all we want, but the emergence of the energy economy was an enormous factor in the early 2000s. Looking at the graph below I make the following observation: we are at the end of the first boom-bust cycle in the oil industry in North Dakota. That’s all this is. We have not run out of oil and it is not, at least yet, an industry regulated out of existence.