North Dakota no longer has the lowest unemployment rate in the country. In a humiliating development, my home state’s unemployment rate of 2.9% now lags behind Nebraska’s 2.7%:
For the first time in more than six years, North Dakota doesn’t have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, due in part to sliding oil drilling activity spurred by low crude prices.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday show North Dakota’s jobless rate in February was 2.9 percent, up from 2.8 percent in January. Nebraska now has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 2.7 percent.
Ugh. That’s just unacceptable. No one should lose to Nebraska. In anything.
But I digress. State officials are doing their best to put a positive spin on this negative news:
“Second place is still a very, very positive position to be in,” said Michael Ziesch, a manager for the state’s employment agency, Job Service North Dakota in Bismarck. “We still have an incredibly low unemployment rate, but the depressed price of oil has had an influence on us, certainly.”
Federal data show North Dakota is among only a handful of states where the unemployment rate has risen in the past year. But Ziesch said the state still has some 21,000 more jobs than takers.
“This certainly isn’t anything drastic,” he said of the small increase in the state’s jobless rate.
We’ll get ’em next year, boys!