Other View: Too early to judge Gov. Burgum's decision on unemployment benefits

When it was announced in May (it was enacted in mid-June) there were 18,017 open jobs listed with Job Service North Dakota. Some eight weeks later, there were still 18,000 open jobs.

So was Burgum’s decision wrong?

No, and here’s why: North Dakota’s labor shortage is so widespread and so acute that it was never considered likely that one move would by itself solve the problem. Rather, Burgum’s decision was rooted in the reasonable belief that something — anything — needs to be done to encourage more potential workers to apply for jobs in the state and region.

In the last month, two news stories highlighted the issue.

One, written by Forum News Service, checked in on Burgum’s decision, two months after it was announced. It quoted Landis Larson, president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO, who said the move didn’t have much effect on the shortage, but instead hindered the economy because ending the benefits means fewer dollars flowing into the local economy and supporting businesses.

Larson is right. Without those benefits, there probably is less economic churn and thus less benefit for businesses.

True, but without workers,

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