NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — According to the state, the unemployment rate for many of our cities is low and under 2% in some cities.

So, we know a lot of people are working, but we also know a lot of positions are still available for hire.

That’s where the workforce shortage is causing problems.

Currently, in the state of North Dakota, there are 14,000 open and available positions across all industries and occupations. Furthermore, 900 of those openings are in Ward County.

The top five industries hurting the most by the workforce shortage are healthcare, transportation, sales, management, and administration.

State officials say COVID is still to blame for the shortage. To them, it was a catalyst that caused a domino effect across the entire state.

“The Department of Commerce has Find the Good Life and we are trying to attract people to the good state of North Dakota to live here, work here, play here all that kind of good stuff you see coming from the Department of Commerce,” said Phil Davis, the workforce service director at Job Service.

He says there is a difference between the workforce shortage and the unemployment rate. Most people on unemployment can’t work the jobs we need, especially the highly specialized ones.

But we are looking in our state, our colleges, and outside North Dakota for workforce solutions.

“When somebody is interested in coming here to work we line them up with an individual. It could be throughout our whole state. But we have nine workforce centers across the state for job service in North Dakota and we try to line those individuals up to their nearest workforce center. And we help them find that next job,” said Davis.

Davis says at a 1.5% unemployment rate in the state we are leading the nation in this and
trailing behind us are South Dakota, Nebraska, Delaware, and Utah.

He would like to dispel the myth that no one wants to work and he says high school and college students are all working, there are just so many jobs available.

Some places are learning to navigate the storm and have found temporary solutions.

“It hasn’t affected me as rough as some of the other businesses due to the fact that my retention of employees has been good. I probably only have about a 5% turnover. But when it comes to that 5%, we put out ads and we don’t even get job applicants to call to interview,” said Ryan Davy, the general manager of Home of Economy.

It’s a problem statewide but North Dakota hopes this will change for the better the further away we go from the pandemic.

Addressing North Dakota’s workforce shortage head-on, the state legislature authorized the establishment of the Office of Legal Immigration.

This is a way to get people near and far to the Peace Garden State to fill these positions. So far, the state says this has been going well.