As part of a bigger research project I am looking at county level retail sales and a variety of population and labor measures so I took a quick stab at mapping out how this looked. The map is for sales per establishment. If you do not normalize by something the map is useless, though what the proper normalization is part of the question. What is interesting is the relative degree of uniformity in sales per establishment. This is a consistency, not a perfect uniformity. It is really surprising where there are hot spots and where there is just more of the same. Gray shaded counties have data suppressed due to privacy concerns and white filled ones are not in the economic census for some reason.
I was thinking about North Dakota and the population shifts and changes of the the last few years. The economics of the state are so clearly connected to the population changes, which are clearly connected to the economic changes in the state too. There really is an intense and important feedback relationship between population and economics in this state in particular.
Shameless self promotion alert. I am pleased to announce Intelligent Economist selected my blog as one of their top 100 economics blogs for 2018 (all the blogs selected can be found here). I will not lie, it is quite gratifying to receive this distinction again and it is nice that it multiple years in a row for multiple blogging awards. North Dakota is an interesting topic for a variety of reasons and I guess I am able to convey that. What I need to do is get some updated pictures out there though. Yeesh.
The economic definition of labor force is a bit different from the conventional view. The labor force is employed plus unemployed, who by definition are those without a job but looking for work. I bring this up to avoid any confusion with the variable actually being forecast.
Alright, we got the update from the city and it was not pleasant. Year-to-date collections are down more than 10%, and cities preferred measure (though we do not know why it is preferred) is down 6.87%. The forecast was for $1.35 million in collections and it came in at $1.02 million. So my pessimistic forecast was still too rosy. Based on this the updated forecast for May is revised down to $1.3 million.