Job Service North Dakota lists around 14,500 open jobs in the state.
But Gov. Doug Burgum believes it’s more than that. He said the number is likely closer to 30,000. He told reporters he gets that number from talking with employers.
"I always ask them, 'How many jobs do you have open, and how many jobs do you have posted?'" Burgum said. "In some cases, with our health care providers, they only have 10 percent of the nursing positions posted. In manufacturing, they often have five times as many jobs as they have posted."
Burgum said he thought the 30,000 number was a "safe and conservative" estimate.
"That's roughly double the number of jobs we have posted," Burgum said.
Burgum said that makes it even more important to keep young people here – and to recruit others to come to North Dakota.
Burgum also told the Workforce and Human Resources Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota professional licensing requirements may be an impediment to attracting some people from other states to fill open positions. Burgum said in a recent survey of businesses about personnel, it has emerged as an issue.
"It's an issue relative to trailing spouses that arrive here for military service," Burgum said. "They could work in another state, but when the get to North Dakota, they can't work here."
Burgum said that could affect how North Dakota might be affected by base closure rounds in the future. He said North Dakota could do something similar to what the state of Utah did.
"They have reciprocity for trailing military spouses," Burgum said. "If you're licensed in another state, you are licensed there."
Burgum said the state recently received a $450,000 grant for the next three years to take a closer look at the issue. He said some bills to deal with this issue could be introduced in the 2019 session.