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Published April 10, 2013, 12:32 PM

N.D. gains 100,000 jobs since 2000, officials say

Jobs in North Dakota have grown by almost a third since 2000, increasing by 100,000 during that period and by 33,000 in 2012 alone, the Department of Commerce announced last week. With the energy boom based in western North Dakota, the job gains have not been spread evenly across the state.

By: Christopher Bjorke, Grand Forks Herald

Jobs in North Dakota have grown by almost a third since 2000, increasing by 100,000 during that period and by 33,000 in 2012 alone, the Department of Commerce announced last week.

“We have added over 70,000 new jobs in the past five years and as we continue to focus on great economic diversification, we will see even more jobs created,” said Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said in a news release.

With the energy boom based in western North Dakota, the job gains have not been spread evenly across the state.

While jobs in the metro areas of Grand Forks and Fargo have grown by 12 percent and 26 percent, respectively, jobs in Williams County in northwest North Dakota have increased by about 316 percent.

The county’s jobs grew from 8,671 in 2000 to 36,107 in the third quarter of 2012, according to Job Service North Dakota data.

Urban to rural

Michael Ziesch, a Job Service labor market researcher, said the jobs growth in the rural counties bucks the historic trend for the state.

“For the first time in probably forever, it was the rural areas,” he said.

Stark County, in southwest North Dakota, had jobs double, from about 10,063 to 20,053 since 2000. In Mountrail County, to the east of Williams County, jobs grew from 2,171 in 2000 to 6,731 in 2012. In Ward County, which includes Minot, there were 34,945 jobs in 2012, up from 25,809 in 2000, or a 35 percent increase.

The state’s urban areas also experienced growth, though not as dramatic as the statewide trend.

Metro Fargo’s jobs totaled 128,700 in 2012, up from 102,200 in 2000. Metro Bismarck added 15,100 jobs during the period for a total of 66,800, or 29 percent more. Metro Grand Forks had 55,500 jobs last year, an increase of 6,700, or 12 percent.

The Job Service data for Fargo and Grand Forks are based on metropolitan statistical areas that include neighboring counties in Minnesota, which has not had the same economic success as North Dakota in recent years. That could dampen the areas’ growth rate.

“You were probably pulled down slightly by your neighbors to the east,” Ziesch said.

Statewide jobs growth since 2000 has outpaced North Dakota’s population growth in that time.

North Dakota’s population has grown from 642,200 in 2000 to an estimated 699,628 in 2012, according to the U.S. Census. That is an increase of 9 percent or more than 57,000 people, compared to the 31 percent growth in jobs.

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