In 2010, Williston, N.D., was in the midst of an oil boom. Restaurants couldn't hire enough workers. Housing was in short supply, and costly. Local infrastructure couldn't withstand the sudden surge in demand. The U.S. economy right now is sending conflicting signals, says CNN's John Sutter.

“It was chaotic,” said David Flynn, an economist at the University of North Dakota. “The economy was doing well, revenues for the local areas were up across the board, but you were still short of workers and businesses were having trouble.”

The U.S. unemployment rate is at a half-century low. Employers added more than half a million jobs in July. Consumers want to spend, but can’t find cars to buy or flights to book. Recessions, in other words, are about too much supply and too little demand.

Williston’s population roughly doubled from 2010 to 2020. The United States was hit by a pandemic, which caused a shift in demand. No one expects that to happen to the country as a whole. The most obvious consequence is the same: Inflation.

No one knows how long the boom will last, or what the economy will look like on the other side. In Williston, companies and governments were reluctant to invest in the apartment buildings, elementary schools and sewage-treatment plants that the community suddenly needed. “It’s that constant adjustment. Completely unpredictable.”
Posted by
Tap to copy the Short Url to this post:
One-Stop Business News, backed by Mark Cuban. Free to Use →