North Dakota’s Unemployment Rate 4.1% for November


Job Service North Dakota reported that labor statistics released today show North Dakota’s November not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.1 percent. The unemployment rate rose 0.1 of a percentage point between October and November 2020. November 2019’s rate was 2.1 percentage points lower than the current rate.

Between October and November 2020 unemployment rose by 519, an increase of 3.3 percent. North Dakota typically sees a moderate decrease in unemployment numbers between October and November. The over-the-year change (November 2019 to November 2020) in unemployed labor force was 8,456, a gain of 106.1 percent.

The national not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 6.4 percent. It was 6.6 percent the prior month and 3.3 percent the prior year.

North Dakota Not Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force Data

November 2020

October 2020

November 2019

Unemployment Rate












Labor Force




The nation’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.7 percent for the month, lower than the prior month by 0.2 of a percentage point, and much higher than the same period one year ago. The seasonally adjusted rate for North Dakota was 4.5 percent, 0.2 of a percentage point lower than the prior month, and 2.1 percentage points greater than the same period one year ago. The seasonal adjustment process uses a statistical adjustment to accommodate predictable fluctuations between months such as length of daylight and typical weather, allowing for comparison between all months of a year.

In November, North Dakota ranked 11th among all states’ unemployment rates, at 4.5 percent. Nebraska and Vermont tied for 1st place, with unemployment rates of 3.1 percent. 

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

November 2020

October 2020

November 2019

North Dakota




United States




North Dakota’s Nonfarm Employment

Preliminary estimates indicate North Dakota’s November 2020 not seasonally adjusted employment decreased 7.0 percent (-31,000) from the same period one year ago and decreased 1.0 percent (-4,000) over the month.

Annual employment decreased for all major industry sectors. Mining and Logging posted the largest over-the-year reduction in employment with a loss of 7,200 jobs (-35.1 percent). Leisure and Hospitality posted the second largest reduction in employment with a loss of 7,000 jobs (-17.4 percent).  A majority of this reduction took place in Food Services and Drinking Places employment, a loss of 3,700 jobs. Retail Trade posted the third largest reduction in over-the-year employment with a loss of 2,600 jobs (-5.6 percent).


Of North Dakota's three metro areas, Fargo reported the largest change in employment, an over-the-year decrease of 5,800 jobs. The Bismarck and Grand Forks metro areas trailed with employment losses of 3,500 and 2,800, respectively.


Educational and Health Services (+100) was the only major industry to report a year-over-year employment increase. Losses occurred in Leisure and Hospitality (-2,200), Retail Trade (-1,200), Manufacturing (-800), Mining, Logging and Construction (-400), Professional and Business Services (-400), Other Services (-400), Government (-300), Wholesale Trade (-100), and Information (-100).


Manufacturing (+400), Retail Trade (+300), and Other Services (+100) displayed over-the-year employment gains. Principal losses took place in Government (-1,100), Leisure and Hospitality (-1,000), Professional and Business Services (-400), and Educational and Health Services (-400). The remaining industries reported employment decreases of 200 or less.


Employment increases took place in the Government (+400), and Financial Activities (+100) industries. The most significant employment reductions appeared in Leisure and Hospitality (-1,100), Professional and Business Services (-700), Mining, Logging and Construction (-500), and Retail Trade (-500). All other industries reported employment losses of 300 or less.