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Economic Developers say Bismarck and Mandan need workers

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Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 7:51 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The jobless claims report is out for last week.

Another 870,000 Americans filed for unemployment, which is 30,000 more than projected.

While this means the economy is still feeling the impacts of the pandemic, market experts say it’s not all bad news. Plus, the Bismarck/Mandan area is in a unique position that’s keeping the region from reflecting some of the economic issues faced by the rest of the country.

It’s almost back to business as usual on the streets of downtown Bismarck.

With some exceptions and precautions in place, businesses in the state are allowed to operate.

This has helped business owners maintain staff and has kept jobless numbers down compared to the rest of the country.

Eight hundred and seventy thousand seems like a large number, especially when it reflects all the people unemployed in one week across the United States. But, experts say there’s hope in that number.

“When we are so intent on numbers week to week, we lose sight of what really is the big picture. We’ve come a long way from 12.5 million jobs that were lost in March and April,” said David Wald with Securian Financial Advisors.

Jobless claims are up from projections for the country, but those numbers are getting lower each week. Economic Developers say Burleigh and Morton counties have the opposite problem.

“Last year at this time, we would’ve had about 2,400 open jobs in Bismarck, Mandan, Burleigh and Morton county combined. Fast forward one year. Now, we have more than 2,700 open jobs between Bismarck, Mandan, Burleigh and Morton county combined,” said Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC President Brian Ritter.

Brian Ritter says this is a sign of a growing economy. While many employers had to layoff employees due to coronavirus, Ritter says Bismarck and Mandan employers are having a hard time finding enough people to work.

“Because Bismarck and Mandan has a naturally low unemployment rate and then we have a growing economy on top of that-- we’ve created more jobs. We’ve created jobs faster than the amount of people entering the workforce,” Ritter said.

Ritter says the two counties are in a job-seekers' market despite impacts from COVID-19.

While Brian Ritter says Bismarck and Mandan have done relatively well over the last six months, he says it’s important to remain vigilant to maintain the economy as there is no end in sight to the pandemic.

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