Wages up, jobs down in Stutsman County

Report from Job Service North Dakota indicate people working in most industries in Stutsman County are making more money, although some sectors of the economy are employing fewer people.

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Some businesses post potential wages on a marquee to entice people to apply for a job. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Average wages for workers were up for the second quarter of 2020, although the number of those people employed in Stutsman County was down.

The data comes from reports prepared by Job Service North Dakota and includes the months of April, May and June., the most current information available.

"We have a lot of stable industry," said Danica Chaput, workforce center manager for Job Service in Jamestown. "Government, agriculture and manufacturing have stayed fairly stable."

The average weekly wage in Stutsman County increased to $897 per week. This amounts to a 5.5% increase from the average weekly wage of $842 for the same quarter a year ago. The biggest increase came in the agricultural sector where average weekly wages increased from $710 per week to $844, an increase of 18.9% in the past year.

Across North Dakota, the average weekly wage increased by $33 or 3.3%, according to the Job Service statistics.


The number of people working in Stutsman County dropped from 10,969 people in the second quarter of 2019 to 10,307 in the second quarter of 2020 for a 6% decrease over the last year.

Looking at it by employment sector, the biggest decline in employment came in the accommodations and food service industry, down 268 jobs in the past year. Retail trade was a distant second with the loss of 85 jobs for 6.5% of that workforce.

Even if the number of jobs in some sectors has fallen, the unemployment rate in Stutsman County remains low.

"In Stutsman County, we've held our own in unemployment," Chaput said. "We have fairly low numbers compared to the rest of the state."

Currently, the unemployment rate in Stutsman County is 2.5% and is under the statewide rate of 4%. Job Service North Dakota currently lists 389 open jobs in Stutsman County.

"Lots of opportunity for people who want to shift jobs or move up," Chaput said.

That doesn't mean the current job market is as strong as it was previously.

"Last year at this time the unemployment rate was 1.6% for both Stutsman County and the state of North Dakota," Chaput said.


Connie Ova, CEO of Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp., said increasing wages are good for the economy of the community but might pose challenges to employers.

"If you have good employees, you better pay them," she said.

Ova said the manufacturing and agriculture sector have done well this year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

"Most of our manufacturers didn't shut down and some increased business," she said. "The farmers had a good harvest and they usually spend money when they have it."

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