Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Bakken/Williston, North Dakota's Unemployment Rate

Williams County is the county that is ground zero to the Bakken oil field boom.  Of course with the collapse in oil prices they've been laying people off, but I always like to see the visual consequences of it.  What is particularly interesting though is I've never seen an unemployment rate of below 1%.  It's a testament to just how insanely hot that labor market was, and could be the target we aim at for the US labor market as a whole.


Anonymous said...


I am from Dickinson though I live in another part of North Dakota. I believe the reported unemployment figures are low.I am not the primary source of this information but the source was reliable. Hopefully another reader can confirm this. A tactic being employed by employers to reduce the labor force is through drug testing. Say a company needs to reduce their labor force so they call everybody in for a drug test. One estimate I heard was that 40% of the employees at one company walked off the job rather than be terminated.

Anonymous said...

Crazy times we live in. The same thing is happening in Aberdeen, Scotland, where hundreds of workers are being laid off.

Paul, Dammit! said...

It's worth noting that the oil companies are insanely proactive at keeping employment numbers just shy of maximum predicted optimum, and layoffs can be tied to NASDAQ index numbers moreso than Brent Crude Pricing (try it and see!). Like futures contracts, oil industry employment is a function of subjective values more than anything else, which actually makes it a great weathervane when market exploitation isn't subsidized, anyhow. Currently, subsidization isn't terrible, so it looks like oil industry employment numbers are probably a good predictor of futures pricing.

We'll have to see where this goes. Don't know if it matters, but I'm in the oil trade, and I'm going long on end-user marketing- the route from midstream to retail.

Anonymous said...

I've been invested in the Bakken since '08. Heard a lot of stories. Many of the smaller drillers were using what might be politely termed "marginally attached" guys, 'cuz there was no incentive to do background checks, validate IDs, see if there were outstanding warrants, that sort of stuff.

Correction in rig counts will definitely go on apace until oil prices spike ahead, but I don't think we're seeing a '30s-era bust here, or even an '80s-era one. Almost a good thing for the Bakken, as additional (non-Keystone) pipelines are still being built to serve the are.

Took some profits on my stocks after one of them got bought. Will just hold the rest. One of my tiny ones may go under soon, or not.