The discussion surrounding the oil boom and broader performance in the North Dakota economy tends to focus on variables such as employment, unemployment, and labor force. Nothing wrong with that really; these three measures provide important insights into labor markets and, at least indirectly, broader economic performance. There is a different measure, available with a much higher frequency and likely more useful to the broader discussions of economic performance: unemployment insurance claims.
The 2015 ACS data came out from the Census Bureau in mid-September and gave us lots to chew on for the state of North Dakota. The four counties reported in the 1 year data are Burleigh, Cass, Grand Forks, and Ward. All three counties gained population from 2014. Cass increased the most with 4,507 more people, while Burleigh increased by 2,488, Ward by 1,891, and Grand Forks increased by 778.
It is a fun time to be an economist with an interest in data, and it has nothing to do with election policies because, as we all know, those have nothing to do with data anyway (zing!). The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its GDP by Metro Area report this week (available here). The first question many would have is: why do we care about a report that covers 2015, that is in the past?
The BLS data for Williston continue to tell an unfortunate story of the rapid rise in employment and, for the most part, an equally dramatic reversal. One of the most frequent questions asked about this is whether there will be a reversal of the latest trend when (if?) oil prices recover. I think the jury is out on that front.