A strong community with an unmatched entrepreneurial spirit, booming economy, low unemployment, high availability of jobs and many growing sectors, makes working here a great bet.
Local labor statistics
Civilian labor force: 134,359 with a participation rate of 74%
Average annual wage: $48,430 (an increase of 2.1% over the year before)
Unemployment rate: 2.4% (seasonally adjusted, as of August 2018)*
Largest sector: Health Care and Social Assistance, employing 23,717 workers
Largest major occupation group: Office and Administrative Support, employing 22,198 workers
Over the next year, employment is projected to expand by 2,074 jobs!
*Fargo, ND-MN MSA. JobsEQ® via Greater Fargo Moorhead EDC
The metro is big on entrepreneurship. A young and innovative workforce has led to a boom in new startups in recent years, and is only picking up steam. Add in organizations like Emerging Prairie, SCORE, the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation and the Small Business Association encouraging entrepreneurial efforts, and much of the activity is more grassroots.
Efforts like 1 Million Cups offers opportunities for entrepreneurs to gather, pitch ideas and collect feedback, and the Technology Incubator at the NDSU Research and Technology Park continues to nurture startup businesses. There are even several new programs to encourage young girls to get involved in STEM.
In 2005, the city of Fargo received designation as a foreign trade zone, an area that is designated for duty-free entry of goods. A foreign trade zone encourages more commercial activity in the region, allowing manufacturers to produce products in the area without having to pay U.S. customs duties.
Minnesota has one of the most generous foreign royalty deductions in the country. Minnesota corporations that license technology to foreign corporations can deduct 80% of the foreign royalties they receive if the payer is a member of the unitary group.
A look at the regional workforce
We have heard from our members and the community time and time again – there is a serious shortage of qualified workers to fill all the job openings. We feel it in our community, and around the nation. When we polled our audience at State of the Cities, workforce was the top concern. That’s why we were part of a Regional Workforce Collaborative along with four other area organizations where we studied and proposed plans to address the issue. Our chamber is taking this issue seriously, and are doing all we can to solve the gap. It’s why we contributed to career academy funding at North Dakota State College of Science. It’s been put into our strategic plan and partnerships. It’s why we’re launching a new ground-breaking initiative called Fueling Our Future, in which one main objective will be to address the needs of people, employers, students and workers. Opportunities exist and will be pursued through a career academy, work and partnerships with educators, classrooms and k-12 outreach.
Recently, ND Governor Doug Burgum and Job Service North Dakota conducted a statewide survey, sponsored by the North Dakota Workforce Development Council and the Greater North Dakota Chamber, asking North Dakota’s employers to identify their most pressing workforce issues. The results are providing valuable input for workforce development recommendations to the governor.
“There are more than 14,000 open jobs posted with Job Service North Dakota,” Labor Commissioner and Job Service North Dakota Executive Director Michelle Kommer, said. “We estimate the actual number of job openings is significantly larger, and the needs in our near future could be double that figure. We need a workforce capable of meeting North Dakota’s unique and evolving needs in the 21st century. But first we need to identify and prioritize those needs.”
At NDSCS, a metro-area career workforce academy will link secondary and post-secondary career preparation as a strategy to help ease the area’s chronic shortage of workers. Last summer, the college received the go-ahead to seek private funding for the initiative in Cass County. Work is now started on a business plan. The academy would be a collaboration involving at least five local high schools, NDSCS and M-State. It is modeled after the success of a similar academy in Bismarck.