Sunday, September 30, 2012

Economic Strength - Nevada vs. North Dakota

 Regional economic strength is partly a matter of luck and partly the result of  bad policies.

The economic data on Nevada and North Dakota illustrate extremes of luck and bad policies. 

Nevada is suffering greatly from high unemployment and high job loss. North Dakota is at the other extreme, with much lower unemployment than other states and high job growth. The numbers are collected conveniently by the Joint Economic Committee in its state-by-state survey of jobs and unemployment (see summary chart on p. 106). The numbers on which the survey is based are from the monthly reports of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment, August 2012
Job Growth or Loss since Recession Began
Best: North Dakota
Average: USA
Worst: Nevada

North Dakota is lucky in finding oil. Nevada is partly to blame for its lax mortgage policies that meant it was badly hit by the housing collapse.

An enterprising reporter or regional economist could surely find other contrasts that would help fill out the picture. A Business Week article in 2011 that headlines the contrast doesn't go much beyond the oil vs. housing explanation.