The big story for North Dakota is not just about oil in western North Dakota, it is about the adjustments to the underlying economic dynamics in the state. Consider the situation of labor markets in two North Dakota cities, Williston and Grand Forks. These data are for the Williston micropolitan area and the Grand Forks metropolitan area from 1997 to the end of 2013.
So I took a look at the labor force data for the metropolitan statistical areas in North Dakota. That would be Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks. Not content with that I also looked at the labor force data for the micropolitan statistical areas in North Dakota (Dickinson, Jamestown, Minot, Wahpeton, and Williston). I also looked at the state labor force data too.
It seems I am something of the regular discussant on the economics of housing issues in Grand Forks and North Dakota. I was a roundtable participant tonight where the topic was affordable housing. There is still no evidence of a market malfunction if you will. One of the issues here is the general perception that markets function in the manner shown in an introductory economics class. Specifically, when we shift supply and demand curves in class or on paper it appears to be an instantaneous adjustment. Essentially we are cutting to the chase.
I get many queries about data related to North Dakota. Sometimes the questions focus on national data and the implications for the North Dakota economic environment. Other times the questions relate more to the internal dynamics and workings of North Dakota. These questions come from all sectors and all types of businesses.
I am working on some technical support for my positions regarding housing in Grand Forks but I will take a moment to reiterate that position here. Nobody illustrated to my satisfaction that Grand Forks ever had a housing “crisis.” Could there be circumstances where the types of housing available did not meet the particular demands of the people in the market? Sure. Could it be that builders focused on certain types of building which meant others types did not see new construction? You bet. Does any of this mean the market outcome is bad? No!