Housing is a common topic of discussion in Grand Forks. Many questions surround the topic, too many in fact. As a frequent contributor to the Jarrod Thomas program (1310 AM Grand Forks), I receive a fair share of these questions. For every question I answer, or attempt to answer, it seems like two take its place. All this because, as I maintained throughout these last few years, we are not asking appropriately defined questions.
Seventeen years ago the Red River flooded caused immense damage in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. It seems natural to take a look at the state of the economy. Certainly there were major changes, and it is important to note which changes had more impact or longer durations than others. The time patch of the Grand Forks experience is also important. Lessons for other communities about what went right, and what went wrong could be gleaned from this nearby history.
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.
The approaching holiday season means many will now renew their focus on the retail sector for a clue to strength in the economy. What does this mean to North Dakota? There are many factors working to the positive for ND right now. The exchange rate with Canada is one of them, seen here: