I’ve been saying this for a while now, but I am happy to see somebody else discussing the issue. This Bloomberg article makes excellent points about the issues for North Dakota and several other states experiencing revenue shortfalls.
I resisted writing anything specific about Brexit and North Dakota for a time now. Part of the issue was it was all too soon; natural experiments of this scale are not something economists expect to just fall in their lap. There were many questions about the implications of the event for North Dakota, which as we will see is probably minimal in terms of direct relevance. With the benefit of a little temporal distance we can address this in a manner devoid of (some of) the immediate hysteria.
So the BEA release (follow this link to the data) this week revealed a large decline in North Dakota GDP from 2014 to 2015. Not a real surprise. As a minor note, I prefer to use the quarterly data instead of the annual data, not because it tells a very different story, but there are some distinctions. That is what I will be using in this discussion. I am also looking at the real GDP data to control for inflation changes over this time.
The Federal Reserve released the Beige Book today, which is a summary of their comments on economic conditions. The report contains information related to each district, and there is some information specific to North Dakota mentioned in the Book. I am just highlighting a few of the more notable elements here. The link to the full report is above.
Many times people asked me about the relative importance of the agriculture sector and the mining sector so I thought I would show some current data. Now the coal industry output remains almost the same over this time frame, so the oil sector is responsible for the growth. The data run from 2005Q1 to 2015Q3 and the lines display each sector as a share of total GDP (private and public sector).