North Dakota’s Job Boom Continues on

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In a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce study on state economic development, North Dakota was ranked first in economic activity and job growth. Most of the state’s strong labor market has come from North Dakota’s growing oil industry, which has created a strong demand for engineers on

It is no secret that North Dakota’s oil and gas boom has resulted in unprecedented job growth for the state.

North Dakota was ranked first for overall economic development and job growth in a recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The oil and gas boom has brought rapid job growth in the state, and demand is particularly robust for engineers with strong technical backgrounds, based on hiring data on

In its fourth annual report, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce analyzed each state’s economic performance based on a variety of factors. Criteria included the state’s ten-year and two-year job growth rates, expansion of gross state product, income growth, productivity, and the median income per four-person household. After adjusted for differences in cost of living across different states, North Dakota came out on top as the clear winner in job growth and overall economic performance.

It is no secret that North Dakota’s oil and gas boom has resulted in unprecedented job growth for the state. Over the past two years, the state’s job growth has increased at an annual rate of 11 percent – a breakneck speed, considering the rest of the country’s much slower recovery. According to the report, North Dakota currently has the nation’s fastest per capita personal income and is ranked 7th overall for highest median family income.

The technology behind fracking, the drilling method used widely in North Dakota, is still relatively new, and much of the current job demand is for individuals with the knowledge to operate and manage extremely technical drilling processes. Hiring for engineers has been consistent on, a leading job site. Of the engineering openings currently listed in the state, an overwhelming number of employers are in the petroleum and energy sector. Oil companies are seeking chemical engineers, particularly those with experience in field work and petroleum operations. There is also demand for engineers to design and oversee pipeline development, as construction remains ongoing to build the necessary infrastructure to support drilling activity. Job seekers with strong science backgrounds are especially in demand, with most employers requiring engineering degrees or trade school certification.

“Considering that the science behind fracking is still in its infancy, it’s incredible to witness the surge of jobs that have been created in North Dakota as a result of it,” notes Harrison Barnes, CEO of “While the majority of the people who are coming into the state are employed in oil production, this is causing a good deal of economic activity for many other industries. People who move to the state need homes to live in, places to shop, doctors and dentists. The result is that so-called unrelated sectors like construction and local businesses are getting a huge boost. It really is a ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ story.”

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Andrew Ostler
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