Published May 1, 2008 | May 2008 issue
While much of the country is slumping, North Dakota is humming a tune while it goes to work.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state has the highest labor force participation rate in the country. Among its civilian, noninstitutionalized population, 71.8 percent were employed in January of this year. That rate beat second-place Nebraska by more than half a percentage point and outpaced 90 percent of states by at least two percentage points.
From January 2007 to January 2008, the state logged the fifth-highest rate of job growth, at just over 2 percent. The state's unemployment rate—at 3.2 percent—puts it among the 10 lowest in the country. Fewer workers are also taking on multiple jobs. As recently as 2005, the state led the nation at nearly 10 percent. The most recent data on multiple jobs showed it slipped to 8.4 percent in 2006, dropping the state to eighth place.
—Ronald A. Wirtz