How would you like to have this problem: labor force in your city grows 2.58% per month. Yes, over 2%. Per month. For three years. And no end of growth in sight.

That’s the calculation from Dr. David Flynn, writing at the Say Anything Blog: Williston Labor Force May Soon Be Larger Than Grand Forks.

He calculates a 2.58% growth per month over the last three years in Williston. Here are the raw numbers:

In August 2010 the labor force in Williston was 18,819, and by August 2013 it increased to 47,060.

How do you cope with that kind of growth. You can’t. No community can.

That’s why the housing prices are ridiculous. If you can even find a place.

That’s why Wal-Mart was advertising $17 an hour for entry-level cashiers a year ago.

That’s why you make an appointment two weeks in advance to get routine car maintenance or have someone look at your broken truck.

That’s why hospitals and some other employers have to build an apartment for staff so they can get enough people to do the work that is needed.

All aspects of services and infrastructure are overloaded with that level of growth. Regulatory oversight of labor laws, the environment, and housing as well as policing and the courts are overwhelmed. 

With this growth rate, the author calculates Williston will have a larger work force than Grand Forks by the end of December. Of this year. That’s next month.

There is a downside to the growth and wealth of a booming economy. Prof. Flynn has a good analogy:

This is an enormous change to tackle, and people generally resist change. In this case change is thrust upon them, like a punch in the mouth.

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