I look at the metropolitan area labor force in North Dakota. These seem natural comparison groupings, though the data show serious differences that may change that impression.
I was thinking about the labor force increase during the Bakken oil boom and wondered how it stood up against streaks in other states. The answer surprised me.
The economic definition of labor force is a bit different from the conventional view. The labor force is employed plus unemployed, who by definition are those without a job but looking for work. I bring this up to avoid any confusion with the variable actually being forecast.
Labor force participation is a frequent topic of conversation on the radio these days so it seemed appropriate to actually share the graphs that I often show JT when the topic comes up.
I argued before that North Dakota is labor-constrained. My thinking on this went through multiple iterations, and I continue to try and refine this. In particular the data to demonstrate this most clearly just may not exist at this time, but I continue to pursue it. Here is the state of wages from Q1 2017 by county in North Dakota.