Just time for a brief post right now. Obviously the major driver of the situation in western North Dakota is oil, oil prices to be precise. So what exactly is that relationship like? Here is a graph of Williston labor force and oil prices:
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.
I thought I would switch focus a little bit on the housing issue. The discussion largely is a matter of price and availability. As I mentioned before, we really do not have a large number of sales that give us the ability to suggest markets are working well at any given time in most housing markets. That does not mean we automatically assume a market failure though.
A proper investigation of issues in housing requires a look beyond the price. As I mentioned, price can be indicative of an issue, but is not the source or cause of the issue. In the same way your sore throat may be caused by a sinus infection, if you fail to look for the root cause you may treat the condition inappropriately.