North Dakota: Construction magnet

They won’t be building skyscrapers any time soon in North Dakota, but they’ve at least been building something . It’s the only state in the nation that added construction jobs in the past year, new data released today show.

North Dakota added 400 jobs from October 2008 to October 2009, a 2 percent increase, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America.

We’re interested in this issue for a couple reasons.

Some folks in MPR’s Public Insight Network have been telling us about how the tough times in Minnesota’s construction and iron working trades are leading some to North Dakota where there’s work but where the working conditions can be challenging, especially in the winter.


So we’re trying to talk to some workers who are making that trek this winter. If you’re working in North Dakota construction or know someone who is, please contact me directly and let me know or post below.

We’re also interested because Minnesota’s construction employment has really taken a whack in this recession, including another 1,200 jobs lost in October.

Our state’s been hit harder than our neighbors, according to the AGC analysis, losing about 13 percent of its jobs the past year. That percentage is about the same as Iowa, though it translates into 3,500 more jobs lost here than Iowa.

Wisconsin’s lost about 10,000 jobs but that’s only about 9 percent of its construction workforce. It also showed a jump of about 3,500 jobs in the past month, according to the AGC data.

Boom-bust cycles aren’t new to construction workers. The cycle will turn. When it does, though, will all the jobs come back? That’s the question.

“A shockingly large portion of the construction industry’s workforce has simply evaporated,” Ken Simonson, chief economist for Associated General Contractors, said today as the group released the data.

The national construction unemployment rate of 18.7 percent was the highest of any sector in October, he added, accounting for one of every five job losses in the past year in an industry that only employs one out of 20 workers.


What’s the jobs climate like in your part of Minnesota? Post below and tell us about it, or contact me directly. You can help keep the conversation rolling.

Click on the map icons below to see what other Minnesotans have been telling us about the jobs climate around them.

  • Shawn Boles

    Americans are fed up! Having a loud mouth or a popular link for everyone to follow is not a big enough weapon when we are going up against President Obama and his corrupt administration.

    Over one hundred thousand people marched in Washington and was ignored!

    America voicing are frustrations at voting booths that are corrupt with the manipulation of such organizations like ACORN. Are ignored as well.

    This Out of control sitting President, adminastration, and government agenda has left the American people no civil choice!