A standard question of late on the Jarrod Thomas Show focuses on the possible changing pecking order for cities in North Dakota. Essentially JT and I wonder aloud about the implications for Grand Forks from changes in population due to the change in economic structure in North Dakota. So this is a first stab at giving an answer to the possible change in the pecking order.
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.
I get many questions about local economic development these days. The specific geography is usually either Grand Forks, city, county or metropolitan area, or the counties in northeast North Dakota. These questions come on the radio, from newspaper reporters, and general conversations from the public. The basic form of the question is, “What can or should Grand Forks do to grow and develop?”
So employment data in North Dakota occupied most of my thoughts over the last week or so. I thought it time to take a quick look at earnings data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Quite often I hear people mention the concept of diversification with a local economy as if it represents a buffer against downturns. I am still thinking about; I am not sure I buy it either in part or in whole. That will need to wait for another day.
A little follow-up to the postings on employment, particularly for the one about Grand Forks (here). Talking with JT on the radio today, or maybe it was off-air, the difference between city and county came up. So let’s take a look at this: