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Goss: North Dakota's economy slowed in August

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For the third consecutive month, North Dakota's economic growth remains negative.

North Dakota’s economy slowed for the third straight month.

Creighton Economics Professor Dr. Ernie Goss conducts a monthly economic survey in nine Midwestern states, including North Dakota. North Dakota’s Business Conditions Index rose to 48.8 in August from July’s reading of 47.8, but any reading below fifty indicates an economic slow-down.

Goss says economic sectors across North Dakota are not performing from places of strength. Manufacturing and food processing, as well as wage growth were not as strong as he’d like to see. The regional economy is slowing as well, but remains above growth neutral. Goss says despite inflationary challenges, he doubts the Federal Reserve will be deterred from raising interest rates this month.

"What the Federal Reserve is trying to manage is what's called a 'soft landing,' where they bring down the inflation rate at the same time they don't increase the unemployment rate. Well, good luck on that. We're likely to see the inflation rate come down, and the growth, unfortunately will be coming down and probably moving into more negative territory in the fourth quarter. We normally call that stagflation - where you're seeing GDP expanding, but at the same time, inflation is still too high."

Goss says North Dakota also continues to struggle to find qualified workers. He says there are roughly two jobs for every one worker.

"There are opportunities out there, but unfortunately workers just aren't taking them. I think we can trace that to lack of affordable child care, and fear of COVID. We're also seeing supply chain disruptions have those impacts. And finally, you've got the federal support for not working having some impacts as well."

Goss says he expects the economy to slow even further throughout the rest of this year.