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N.D. boasts best job outlook in U.S.

North Dakota's fourth-quarter employment outlook is the best in the nation, according to a Manpower survey of employers.

A total of 21 percent of North Dakota employers responding to the survey said they plan to hire from October to December, 6 percent planned to reduce payroll and 72 percent expected to maintain current staffing levels.

North Dakota had the nation's lowest unemployment rate in July, with a not-seasonally adjusted rate of 3.3 percent.

"The western part of the state is seeing a tremendous increase in the demand for workers," said Keith Reitmeier of the Job Service North Dakota office in Grand Forks. "They are looking anywhere they can to find workers."

The state's strong job market extends beyond the oil boom and the western part of the state, said Reitmeier, who is manager for a 10-county area of northeast North Dakota.

Job Service North Dakota lists more than 1,600 job openings in the Grand Forks region, an increase of about 300 from the same time a year ago.

"It remains a strong job market locally," Reitmeier said. "There are some good opportunities for people, and there are a nice variety of positions and career fields available."

Reitmeier said 54 employers are registered for a job fair to be held 2 to 6 p.m. today at the Alerus Center., LM Wind Power, J.R. Simplot Co., Philadelphia Macaroni Co. and national retailers such as Target and Walmart are among the employers who will be meeting with job seekers.

Prospective employees are encouraged to dress professionally, bring copies of their resumes and be prepared to interview on the spot.

"It's a great chance to make that connection," Reitmeier said.

Reitmeier said industries with a strong local employment outlook include health care, construction, transportation (including truck driving), production, food service and retail.

Grand Forks had a not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 3.8 percent in July. The Grand Forks Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Polk County, Minn., had a not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 4.7 percent in July.

Minnesota's employment outlook is not quite as rosy. From October to December, 14 percent of Minnesota companies surveyed by Manpower planned to increase staffing, 10 percent expected to cut positions and 74 percent planned to hold the line on staffing.