The Dakotas and Manitoba/Unemployment rate

North Dakota has the lowest unemplyment rate in the US at 3.8%. Head south to South Dakota and they have the second best unemployment rate at 4.5%. Head north across the border and Manitoba has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada at 4.9%.

These states and province are the most bleak, flat and cold of all the contiguous states and provinces .

Does that explain their relative economic success ?

At least in part. I mean, who’s going to move North Dakota for any reason if they’re not sure there’s a job waiting for them? And who in North Dakota who didn’t have a job would hesitate to move to warmer climes?

Right, if you don’t choose to live on the family farm, or the family loses the farm, then why even stay in the area?

The depopulation of the Plains, marked by the emigration of its youth, has been well underway and well documented for decades now. Low unemployment rates don’t necessarily reflect a healthy job market; they can instead simply reflect the departure of the unemployed.

According to the OP’s link the eight states with the lowest unemployment are ALL very sparsely populated:

6 HAWAII 6.4
7 IOWA 6.6
9 KANSAS 6.8

Of those nine I believe Iowa and Kansas are the only ones with populations significant more than a million, and at about three million each, they ain’t exactly Japan.

It would be interesting to find if there are any papers on this but I suspect that people will tend to move to, or stay in, an area not just for jobs but for the perception that jobs may be created. Furthermore, they continue to derive other types of utility from living in a more populous area, even if they’re unemployed.

Another factor in the current recession is that it was driven in large part by the real estate bubble & collapse of that bubble. In general, areas that didn’t really have the bubble to begin with were hit less hard than those that did. My guess (and I am too lazy to verify it) is that this is one region that didn’t have the bubble…or very much of one. I just don’t remember hearing many complaints about the exorbitant housing prices in Bismarck. (In fact, I have heard so little about Bismarck in general that I just had to look up on google to see whether or not it had a “c” in it!)

The Bakken oil fields are in North Dakota (and surrounding states & provinces), and have become economically worthwhile since oil prices started climbing a few years back. That’ll be a part of it. Another part of it is that when you can’t find work in North Dakota you’ll tend to move somewhere else.

Well the Dakotas and Nebraska are heavy farm states which do have farm subsidies, this will help offset the unemployment rate to a degree.

The populations of those states also have an outflow of youth. The college grads have been moving out, once they graduated to more populated areas. This has created a lot of potential for vacant jobs, and it keeps the older population employed as well as their is less competition for the jobs.

But the Dakotas, notably Fargo and Sioux Falls already show signs of housing problems. The rents are rapidly rising in those cities as people come in and can’t afford housing or it’s just not there.

It may also be a function of the definition of unemployment. You’re only unemployed if you are actively looking for work. On the empty plains, you might well exhaust all possibilities for looking to work and fall into a holding pattern: everyone in town knows you need a job, you’ve got an application in everywhere, you are just going to sit tight until you hear they are hiring at the plant or whatever. At that point, you don’t count as unemployed anymore, even though you sure feel unemployed.

In a city, you never exhaust all your options, so you can keep actively looking indefinitely.

Mostly true. Hawaii and New Hampshire are above average for U.S. states by population density according to Wikipedia. I see that Nevada is 42nd in density but, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, currently has the highest unemployment rate.

That region is also going through an oil shale boom. Additionally, Fargo, North Dakota hosts the third largest Microsoft campus in the United States - if your support call is answered in the U.S., its probably answered out of Fargo, where labor is much cheaper than in Seattle.

And, as Mando JO postulates, part of it is the way unemployment is figured. Those states have huge populations (well, huge is relative, it is the Dakotas) chronically unemployed on the Western reservations - but those people haven’t looked for work in decades.

My sister lives in North Dakota. My other sister moved in with her several years ago to get sober. I think it was one of the few places she could have been successful, since she WAS able to stay employed, keep her cost of living relatively low, move out and become independent.

I was born and raised in ND.

In a nutshell…if you don’t make enough to live and you insist on living in ND and don’t have family support…you will die. It’s get’s very cold and windy up there. They are not really into the idea of ‘welfare’. So, people that are unemployed…well…they leave the state.

This is the state that underfunds its educational system because…well…kids growing up in ND and getting a college education tend to leave the state. Therefore, they are spending tax money to help other states. Don’t laugh…I’ve heard this argument being used politically several times.

Don’t get me too wrong here. I like ND. Compared to South Dakota, ND is a garden of Eden - a bastion of logic and reasonableness. SD, especially its education system…should just be nuked. Montana can just be completely nuts (Governor running and winning on a campaign to get out of staters to pay the majority of the state budget…Highway patrol trying to force me personally to get a MT drivers licence because I was teaching 1 class in a border city etc.)

WY, while much better than MT and SD is…well…I lived there for 6 years. The best I can say is ‘evil’ politically. It is all the negative stereotypes you see on the Dope about republicans come to life*

I would NOT consider ND to be doing well economically. It never has. There is no reason for ND to do well…it is out in the middle of nowhere. It just struggles along the best it can. However, if my company opened an office in ND and asked for volunteers at my same rate of pay…I would seriously consider it (though my wife and kids would veto it)

  • Said by a politician - I had no idea teachers support me on this. Wow. I have to reexamine my stance on this issue because I refuse to be on the same side as teachers

The company I work for outsources to India…with enthusiasm. I have brought up several times - why not open up an office in Dickinson, ND? You offer $10 and hour plus health benefits…and people will beat a path to your door willing to make a CAREER out of working for you.

Most have virtually no accent and a great work ethic. Why not?

NIce to see someone else thinking on what I thought and acting on it.

The oil boom is huge. My wife is from Williston. They can’t build fast enough to house the people there.

The low-population states are all huge net beneficiaries of federal spending versus federal taxes paid, thanks to farm subsidies and military spending. One Air Force base is going to make a negligible dent in unemployment in Florida, but might make a whole percentage point worth of difference in Wyoming.

Because you don’t have to offer $10 an hour or benefits in India. Plus, there are only 16,000 people in total in Dickinson. Not exactly a huge source of untapped talent.

True, for large companies. However, we have about 800 people altogether and about 500 are in India. Dickinson and area would soak up that 500 easy.

I find it unlikely that the town could suddenly offer candidates for a number of jobs equivalent to one sixteenth of its total current workforce “easily”.

With India, you also have a big pool of highly trained and education potential employees to choose from. You don’t just have to take the 500 people who happen to show up.

Do the employment statistics by state include Native American reservations within the boundaries of the state? The reservations have a reputation for poverty and high unemployment.

With deference to the ND natives who have posted on here, the boom is real. I spent five terrible months up there and I could have had a job the day I moved there had I not had to get my Airstream parked. As it was, the ONLY reason that I left is that I found a higher paying job closer to my home in Indiana. Had this not occurred I’d still be up on the frozen plains getting paid.

Is it the best place to live?
It’s dull, the people’s political and social views are from the 1960s and it gets really COLD up there.
However, if you have been unemployed for many months and you are desperate for work you can get a job there within days. Even ex-cons are in demand.

It’s so cold there, some people hibernate for over 3 years and then suddenly wake up and realize they want to respond to a thread on this MB. :slight_smile: