This is an active question in much of the United States and North Dakota right now. The answer is elusive and this recent post on FocusEconomics by Oliver Wright makes that abundantly clear.
Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I was prepping testimony to the state legislative committee looking at the revenue forecasting process in the state of North Dakota. That took a bunch of my time, as did the usual chair work and the like. I gave that testimony today so I will return to my rants and musings about all things economic, including sharing my thoughts about the forecasting of state variables (likely expand beyond my testimony) and my outlook for the state’s key economic variables.
Paul Ryan is pressing hard for tax changes to be permanent rather than temporary (see a representative article here). From a traditional economic perspective he is probably right to do so if he wants policy to have maximum impact on the economy, regardless of your preferred performance metric. There exists no shortage of empirical research on this topic and I include a link here to a research note that seems typical (and more importantly is not paywalled).
I am paraphrasing our President in the title obviously. At the point of making too much of a political observation, the President’s comments about insurance could be expanded into many other areas so I cut to the chase and suggest the larger lesson learned should be economic policy in general is not easy.
I will be attending the Second State Demographics Conference in Bismarck on Monday the 27th. Okay, that is not quite accurate. I am giving a keynote address as well as running a breakout session. The keynote looks at the how and why of demographic analysis in the state of North Dakota. In the breakout I am actually showing how I came up with the various different items in my presentation from sources to analysis. The spreadsheet (or spreadsheets, not sure if it will be one Excel workbook or many) will be available at the conference and later on here.
Recognition is always nice and while I did not start my blog for fame and fortune it remains nice to be recognized. The website Intelligent Economist listed me as one of the top 100 economics blogs of 2016. This is really, really nice. It is not often your name gets in the same list as Nobel Laureates, soon-to-be Nobel Laureates, and many of the top people in your field. So thanks very much for this listing! There are many great blogs out there and the link below will take you to the Intelligent Economist post which has links to all the blogs they listed.
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.
So JT mentioned he would like to talk about gas prices, specifically them falling to around or under $2/gallon at some point this year. I assume it refers to something like this story. Consumer response to gas prices have been interesting. The traditional connection between oil prices and gas prices is one that most know. Individuals carpool, buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, use public transportation, or find other ways to avoid higher fuel prices in the long run.
I will make some comparisons between communities later, but I looked at location quotients (LQ) for Grand Forks employment by sector compared to the national average. It may not come as a surprise to others, but it did surprise me, that the Grand Forks metropolitan statistical area does not have high LQs, typical of an exporting firm and part of the regional economic base, in many sectors.
You can tell it is an election year. There are all kinds of polls being done (my household answered more than a few) about all types of issues. I heard some discussion (and if I can remember where I will post any available link) about how is North Dakota doing, as in an attitudinal survey. My guess is that people will say, overall, that North Dakota is doing well. I am not a huge advocate of such surveys because they typically seem too vague to me. I prefer to track more definite numbers when possible. Here is median income in North Dakota and the United States.