Employment growth in oil-producing counties in the Bakken Formation, 2007–2011

April 29, 2013

The Bakken Formation is an oil-producing shale formation underneath North Dakota, Montana, and parts of Canada.  From 2007 to 2011, among U.S. counties within this region, employment grew from 77,937 jobs to 105,891 jobs—an increase of 35.9 percent.

Change in employment levels in counties with Bakken shale oil wells 2007-2011

Change in employment levels in counties with Bakken shale oil wells 2007–2011
CountyNet change in employmentPercent change in employment

Montana

  

Daniels County

-18-3.0

McCone County

244.4

Richland County

88218.1

Roosevelt County

2587.6

Sheridan County

786.3

North Dakota

  

Billings County

9122.5

Burke County

21937.2

Divide County

18930.9

Dunn County

964113.1

Golden Valley County

182.8

McKenzie County

2,15576.0

McLean County

2859.3

Mercer County

-116-2.5

Mountrail County

3,039137.1

Stark County

4,11733.7

Ward County

320811.5

Williams County

12,561112.1
Net change in employment: -18Net change in employment: +78Net change in employment: +258Net change in employment: +24Net change in employment: +882Net change in employment: +189Net change in employment: +12,561Net change in employment: +219Net change in employment: +2,155Net change in employment: +18Net change in employment: +3,039Net change in employment: +3,208Net change in employment: +91Net change in employment: +4,117Net change in employment: +964Net change in employment: -116Net change in employment: +285

 

From 2007 to 2011, in counties with wells in the Bakken Formation, 38.1 percent of job growth was in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction. Transportation and warehousing accounted for 17.5 percent of the growth, and construction accounted for another 12.9 percent. Altogether, these three industry sectors accounted for 68.5 percent of employment growth.

Among counties in the Bakken formation, the county with the largest employment growth was Williams County, North Dakota, where employment increased by 12,561 workers from 2007 to 2011. This increase more than doubled employment in the county. Almost half of this increase was in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction. Other counties with employment increases of greater than 1,000 workers were McKenzie, Mountrail, Stark, and Ward, all in North Dakota. Ward County, North Dakota, with more than 31,000 jobs in 2011, had the highest overall number of jobs of any county in the Bakken Formation. Employment increased by 3,208 jobs from 2007 to 2011, with most of the increase spread across mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; construction; transportation and warehousing; and leisure and hospitality. McKenzie, Mountrail, and Stark counties all had the highest level of job growth in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction. Among the counties studied in Montana, Richland had the largest employment growth, with an increase of 882 jobs from 2007 to 2011.

These data are from Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program. Employment totals for each county include employment for federal, state, and local government. Some industry totals were suppressed for confidentiality reasons, but 88.1 percent of the 2007 employment and 88.4 percent of the 2011 employment were available for analysis at the ownership and industry levels included in the study. To learn more, see “Employment and wage changes in oil-producing counties in the Bakken Formation, 2007–2011” (HTML) (PDF), by Paul Ferree and Peter W. Smith, Beyond the Numbers, April 2013. 

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employment growth in oil-producing counties in the Bakken Formation, 2007–2011 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130429.htm (visited December 22, 2014).

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