ND oil slump creates massive job losses

Published: Jun. 22, 2016 at 5:27 PM CDT
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The crash in the price of crude oil last year left many in North Dakota out of a job.

In only a year, about a quarter of the oil jobs in the state vanished.

Marcia Goetz of Job Service North Dakota tracks the state's oil employment numbers. According to reports put out by her office, oil employment has dropped from 63,000 jobs in 2014 to just 48,000 jobs in 2015.

"The decline in oil companies, oil companies moving out of the state, so as a result we're seeing a decrease in employment, not only directly related to oil, but also some of the supporting industries such as construction and transportation," said Goetz.

The heart of oil country has been hit the hardest, as that's where most of the lost jobs are located.

"If we look at oil and gas employment as a percentage by county in the western part of the state, the majority of those counties are at 50 percent or higher," said Goetz.

But while oil jobs fall, another sector is picking up at a quick pace.

"We're seeing more hospitals, clinics being built. They're just expanding and then of course we have an aging population that is just needing additional health care," says Goetz.

Goetz says seasonal jobs are also picking up, which is normal heading into summer.

In 2015, oil and gas accounted for about 13 percent of North Dakota's total private employment, but 24 percent of the state's total private wages, or about $4.6 billion.​