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David Flynn: Barter is Evil

Barter is Evil is an economics blog where the author, Professor David Flynn (University of North Dakota) encourages the exchange of ideas on economics, economic history and statistics. His blog places an emphasis on the North Dakota economy, which provides us with great insight on the impact of the oil industry boom there.

Census Pulse Survey for ND

Business conditions and the return to “normal” (hardly an objective term) are a frequent topic of discussion on the radio. The Census Bureau conduct a survey and it does break it out by state looking at business conditions relative to pre-pandemic circumstances as well as other questions. I am pulling out some of the highlights from the survey round complete 12/26/2021. So what did I learn? About the same percentage of firms report no issues with hiring employees as those that...

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ND Labor Market Update (JOLTS)

Inflation and labor markets dominate the news right now, and this is probably appropriate in terms of the concerns of most people calling the radio. There are worries about prices and the erosion of purchasing power, and then broader concerns about the health and status of the labor market. The broader concerns are not necessarily directly personal, focusing at times on worries about the overarching success possible if there is a market that does not work. In this post I take a...

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North Dakota Fertility Boom (December 2021 Discussion)

In the last post I looked at births (find it here). I ended by pointing out the population of women could be different due to the underlying oil boom North Dakota experienced at that time. So there are a few ways we might see some changes. We might see some changes for a given year within a certain age category. The next graph plots this out for us to see. There is some change in shape age specific fertility rate from year to year, however the shape remains largely the same....

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A Boom in North Dakota Births? (Dec. 2021 Discussion)

There is nothing like a good conference to stimulate the mind and motivate you, even when that conference is online and 7 hours ahead. That issue aside it was great hearing the discussions about “Pandemic babies” and COVID impacts on births. I am not going to get into that discussion yet, but turn the focus back to pre-COVID and fracking effects. The oil boom in North Dakota was a transformational event. I think very few, if any, dispute that point. The demographic impacts are...

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Grand Forks Sales Tax Forecast (December 2021 Edition)

Forecasting local area sales tax collections is not the easiest. The smaller the area gets the more variables you might leave out, due to lack of data or perhaps the variable did not matter in the past. New businesses, population changes, decisions by people to “shop local” more can all impact local sales tax collections. But does that stop us? No! Why should it? So with that in mind I offer up my forecast for the next 24 months for Grand Forks sales tax collections. We can see...

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ND Births, The Early COVID Data

Even before COVID there were concerns about the trajectory of births in the US. It seemed people were having fewer and fewer children, something the various issues surrounding COVID did not deter, at least in terms of the speculation. It is only recently that we acquired data allowing us to see if COVID is changing individual behavior. A little side note here. Many of the speeches and presentations I give are to non-technical audiences and when talking about births you often talk...

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And now comes omicron

I have not seen this much of the Greek alphabet since taking ancient Greek in high school. But seriously, can we recognize finally that pandemic concerns are the significant factor moving the economic narrative? Those that keep asking when is the economy going to get back to “normal” need to ask when COVID will stop being a story that moves markets and policy. This is a serious issue. Oil prices came down drastically as it seems demand for oil would be reduced due to the...

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Inflation in the ND Region

Like most regions the West North Central (WNC), which includes North Dakota, experienced inflation over the last year. That’s right, the last year. Let me say plainly, inflation is not a phenomenon of the last month, or even 6 months. Inflation started its current upward ascent in June of 2020 and has not looked back, and only gained momentum. This region is in the center of the country which poses a few problems, particularly the supply chain. When you hear about all kinds of...

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Veteran Population in North Dakota

David Economist and economic historian with an interest in population analysis and demographic methods. Especially interested in natural disasters and disruptions to economic activity and changes in population dynamics, as well as fiscal and monetary policy with forecasting implications. Husband, father, Cubs fan. View all posts by David

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Where do we get workers in Grand Forks (and anywhere)?

It is a regular topic of conversation, how are we going to get more workers in Grand Forks. First, let’s address the situation with employment. We can see that employment remains well below the 2019 level and that the situation in Grand Forks is complicated. Earlier this year employment was above the immediate impact of the pandemic and is returning to the pattern of 2019 and late 2020. This still puts us about 2,000 employed below the level of 2019. Back to the question at...

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