Oil boom in North Dakota spreading jobs

The Bakken oil boom in North Dakota and Montana has led to rapidly decreasing unemployment rates and rising wages for hundreds of miles around the region, according to a recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. 

To measure the economic impact of oil production, the Minneapolis Fed analyzed unemployment rages and wage data from counties by comparing them to the center of the Bakken shale formation. The highest job and wage growth was in the immediate area, where average weekly wages have increased 140 percent since 2001 and unemployment is less than 2 percent. The effects continued to ripple outward with counties within 100 miles of the Bakken oil fields experiencing the second largest decrease in unemployment in the studied areas. At distances of greater than 100 miles, oil production continued to have a positive influence on unemployment, although the impact on salary diminished at that range. The economic Bakken effect seems to have a greater correlation to the spread of employment than wage increases.

Oil production creating an economic boom in North Dakota
In the area around the Bakken shale formation, over 27,000 new positions have been added between 2007 and 2011 and employment increased by nearly 36 percent during that time period, The Atlantic reported. Total wages in the region have nearly doubled. 

In addition to high-paying positions in the oil fields, there has been dramatic employment growth in other downstream industries. Refineries and railroads have profited since much of the oil produced in the region is shipped by train. Retail sales have increased because consumers have heightened incomes. Professional and technical services have grown in North Dakota, and many of the people in these fields are college educated, according to The Atlantic. Even industries like trucking and food service have received a boost. The real estate industry has remained strong as construction companies rushed to build housing for oil workers. The shale boom has created significant economic growth in the areas around the oil fields. 

With the energy industry contributing so much to the widespread job growth in the region, many industries may be creating new positions. According to the Minneapolis Fed, tight labor markets and high wages in the Bakken area have led to difficulties in hiring qualified workers for local business managers. As the region continues to grow, firms will benefit from the services of technical recruiters to fill new job vacancies.