North Dakota's economy is looking strong at the end of the summer.
Creighton University economics professor Dr. Ernie Goss says the state's economy continues to grow due to expanding job markets in energy and non-manufacturing. He says the pace of that growth makes up for the fact that the state continues to lose manufacturing jobs. Goss says North Dakota's overall Business Conditions Index rose to 69.1 in August from July's 66.7. Both rates were regional highs, and any reading on that index above 50 indicates an expanding economy. Goss says North Dakota's biggest challenge continues to be filling jobs.
"We're talking about growth, now, what kind of growth - well, about 1.5 to 2 percent on the jobs side, and is that good? Yes it is. That's a little bit above the national reading, a little bit above the regional reading. So we're seeing North Dakota beginning to add jobs at a pretty good pace. A lot of what we're seeing is just inability to find and hire qualified workers - and that is not unique to North Dakota. We are seeing shortages of skilled workers in North Dakota, the region, and for that matter - the US."
Goss says economists continues to watch the Federal Reserve since it had promised another interest rate increase. He says wage gains are just not up where they should be so there may be no rate increase after all.