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Jobs up in North Dakota: 22,000 added in April; about 5 percent growth from last year

Information compiled by ND Workforce Intelligence Network Press Graphic by Nadya Faulx

Maybe New Yorkers should heed President Obama’s advice to move to North Dakota after all.

The Peace Garden State saw a 5.1 percent growth in jobs in April over last year’s total during the same month.

A jobs report released last week by the North Dakota Workforce Intelligence Network found that employers reported 458,500 jobs across the state, an increase of 22,200 from those reported in April last year.

The new numbers are “a very strong gain,” labor market information manager Michael Ziesch said.

“We’re certainly in one of the stronger economic periods,” he said.

And what is particularly impressive about the non-seasonally adjusted data, he said, is that the large gain came on top of such a high base.

“We’re talking large numbers,” he said.

Large and diverse. Industries across the board have seen gains in jobs since last year, Ziesch said. The growth seems to be distributed across almost all industries in the state, he added.

Jobs related to the Oil Patch saw the biggest individual gains. The mining and logging industry was up 18 percent over April of last year; transportation, warehousing and utilities was up 12.5 percent.

Although “energy and agriculture are still king,” other industries are benefiting from the boom, Ziesch said.

The retail industry saw 3,000 more jobs this April than there were a year ago, up 6.3 percent. Leisure and hospitality stood at 39,600 jobs in the state, a 4.2 percent year-over-year gain.

The oil boom is still a major draw for job seekers, but “they’re coming for many reasons,” said Danita Tysver, administrative assistant at Stark Development Corporation.

“They come here looking for the big money first,” she said, “and realize there are so many other opportunities, and kind of take advantage of them in the best way they can.”

Tysver said there have been so many people coming to the area that she and her organization don’t have to do much workforce recruitment.

“Our county is doing pretty good here,” she said.

Unemployment in North Dakota was at 2.6 percent as of April, down from 3.1 percent in March, according to Job Service.

The national rate dropped in April to 6.3 percent, its lowest since September 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The department also estimates companies added 288,000 jobs to the market, the most in two years.

Even with such a strong jobs report, plenty of jobs remain unfilled across the state.

Job Service North Dakota reported 25,653 job openings listed in North Dakota in April — almost 1,800 in Stark County alone.

“There’s a wide variety of employers that are listing with us right now,” from construction firms to hotels, said Mary Urlacher, customer service officer manager at Job Service North Dakota. “People are still looking, people are still hiring.”

That could mean even more jobs in next month’s jobs report.

Online job openings are a leading indicator of what people can expect job levels to be in the future, Ziesch said.

“There’s certainly an opportunity for more jobs growth in the state,” he said.