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:
What is the likely effect of oil price declines on the Grand Forks regional economy? This is a question I get quite often right now, and it is difficult to answer. While I investigate I thought we could look at the employment situation in Grand Forks county over the last several years. There are a couple of interesting things to consider. First, let’s consider the percent change, year-over-year, in Grand Forks county employment.
Pretty much anytime I give a talk or go on to KNOX radio I get questions about the pace of apartment building in Grand Forks. People believe fundamentals do not justify the extent to which construction currently occurs. I generally agree and think there are a few reasons behind it. This article from the Wall Street Journal seems to indicate the local circumstances may just be part of a larger national trend.