Work Accident Risk Amid Higher Employment

According to a May 19, 2017, article in the Bismarck Tribune, North Dakota unemployment rates are now among the lowest in the country.

Rates Below 3 Percent

The Tribune reported that North Dakota was one of 19 states with unemployment rates below the national average. The nationwide unemployment rate dropped from 4.8 percent in January to 4.4 percent in April. Colorado's 2.3 percent unemployment rate was the lowest, although North Dakota’s rate was also below three percent.

Job Gains

Along with New Hampshire and Hawaii, North Dakota experienced particularly strong job gains in April 2017. Some of the strength in North Dakota employment is likely related to a year-over-year increase in the price of crude oil. In February of this year, the most recent month for which data is available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), North Dakota’s “First Purchase Price” was $48.26, more than double the $22.72 per barrel figure from February 2016. However, the current price is still well off the approximate $90/barrel figure sustained through much of 2012-2014.

GDP Doubles

Still, oil and natural gas production in the Bakken region has fueled the state’s economic growth for well over a decade. According to U.S. News and World Report, the North Dakota’s gross domestic product more than doubled from 2002 to 2013. During that time GDP rose from $24.7 billion to $49.8 billion.

Higher oil prices tend to support a larger Bakken workforce, which in turn may lead to more work injuries. When a worker is injured while on the job, the state’s worker’s comp laws determine payments for medical expenses, wage-related benefits and other compensation. The timely filing of a worker’s comp claim helps protect a worker’s rights under the law. If you or a family member is a victim of a workplace accident, we make it possible for you to speak with an attorney at no cost to you. To learn more, or to schedule a free consultation, please contact us.