North Dakota Desperate For Workers To Fill Empty Jobs

Some 25,000 jobs remain unfilled

Federal Oil Leases
APWorker hangs from an oil derrick in North Dakota.

By James MacPherson

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota officials are sending a plea to people across the country: We need you.

The state's unprecedented oil bonanza has made it the economic darling of the nation - boasting a sturdy economy, a state government budget surplus, and its highest population ever, as swarms of people have migrated to North Dakota. But it hasn't been enough, officials say, citing some 25,000 more jobs than takers in all industries in the state.

Hoping to woo workers to fill those jobs, Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation on Monday unveiled a "Find the Good Life in North Dakota" campaign at the state Capitol in Bismarck.

> Find a job in North Dakota

"These are exciting times in our state," said Wrigley, who called the lack of an adequate workforce one of "the challenges of prosperity."

The $800,000 campaign is being paid for equally by tax-supported state funds and a donation by Hess Corp., a New York based oil company. The campaign will rely on media advertising and a state website that is expected to be running in May. Specific details of the campaign have yet to be released.

Officials said in a statement that the campaign will focus on career opportunities in North Dakota and promoting the state as "a great place to live, work and raise a family." It will target states with "chronic unemployment" and will attempt to lure skilled workers of various occupations, from engineering to nursing. The effort also will target military veterans, and those who will soon leave the armed services, officials said.

Oil Boom Shifts The Landscape Of Rural North Dakota
Getty ImagesTrucks are parked near new homes rented by oil workers in Williston, North Dakota.
North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, at less than 3 percent. It is leading the nation in population growth and the number of residents in the state is at an all-time high, at more than 725,000 people, according to the Census Bureau.

The surge in economic activity and population growth has come largely from oil. The state has gone from the nation's ninth-biggest oil producer in 2006 to the second, behind only Texas.

> Find a job in the oil industry

North Dakota, which historically has conjured up images of a bleak, wind-swept and treeless wasteland, always has been a tough sell, in good times and bad. The perception was so great that one group a decade ago proposed changing the state's name by dropping "North" and leaving just "Dakota," to dispel the state's image of inhospitable winter weather.

The turnaround in the state's fortunes began about seven years ago, reversing a more than 70-year trend of migration out, when more people were going than coming.

As recently as 2007, when the state's oil bonanza was in its infancy and North Dakota had some 10,000 unfilled jobs, state officials funded several job fairs across the country attempting to entice people to the state - especially young families - in an effort to boost the population. The effort specifically targeted former North Dakotans, a move officials at the time said was an easier sell than to outsiders, who may have dismissed the state as frigid and foreboding

Each event at that time cost the state about $15,000, which was matched by donations from businesses. Food, door prizes and activities for children were part of the job fairs.

Officials at the time estimated that the effort attracted only about 100 workers and their families.

> Find a job at Hess

> See homes for sale in North Dakota.

> See homes for rent in North Dakota

Oil Boom Now Boosting House Prices Throughout North Dakota

Banking on North Dakota's Oil Boom

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I've applied for many positions in ND. I never receive a response.

Sunday at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Arrend D Wheelerr

I will leave California now for a job . Please anyone email me ... Or call me 916-296-5009 please anything will help. I'm ready to get outta here now

December 01 2014 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
loud billy

This is ******* bullshit. everyone crying for help but when you get there NOTHING

August 16 2014 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to loud billy's comment
Victoria Porterfield

you are obviously looking in the wrong place.

June 24 2015 at 6:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Would there be any employment opportunity for my nephew given that he has a fairly recent (within 5 years) "drug related" felony on his record? Further, I should share that he willingly plead guilty to all charges and humbly accepted the harsh related consequences all of which have been duly paid including any associated court costs, fees and penalties not to mention the time he had to spend in Jail. That being said, he now seeks a new life "fresh-start" hopefully by obtaining gainful employment somewhere in North Dakota. For the record he is not afraid of good "old fashioned" hard work. ... FYI, I am posing this question as JC's uncle since he does not presently have access to a computer. Please respond!

August 13 2014 at 5:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian Graves

I'm 53 years old and have 20 years of paint and texture experience. I still work like a 20 year old..,.lol...I would move to the state if I could land some of this work. I have done all aspects of paint, commercial, industrial, residential, also worked painting natural gas pipeline for years. How do I get hooked up? I lived in South Dakota for a couple of years.

August 12 2014 at 7:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How Would I Get Around To Acquire A Good Job Like This? I Would Sign My Life Away To Make That Kind Of Money

August 10 2014 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Root them out of Mc Donald's and start paying them $15.00 per hour?

March 21 2014 at 6:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There are jobs for everybody in North Dakota. You can find work in any area you can imagine. Do your research before coming out. Send out those resumes to get ahead of the competition.

March 20 2014 at 12:49 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to's comment

who will read my resume? will you relocate an entire family and set them up with affordable housing?

March 26 2014 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The oil fields of North Dakota need men and they'll pay quite well for your labor. What's stopping you? My brother is 22 and Pulled $75K in a 5-month stint. Then he travelled around the rest of the year. It's great. It's hard work but low stress (so he says). No office-politics or anything like that.

His rent is low ($500/month)… food is cheap (often provided by the company)… free health insurance… car insurance is dirt cheap (like $20/month from Insurance Panda)… and there's really nothing to do up there, so there's not much other costs. Go up there, bank some money, have a good life experience, and then come back.

What's stopping you?

March 19 2014 at 1:54 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to wenumafet's comment

hey wenumafet... mind if we network? shot me some info if you don't mind buddy, email etc. etc. thanx!

March 26 2014 at 1:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know where you get your info about rent being low? $500? Is that the rent on a parking space behind a building? My cousin is there. He could not find any housing at all.... not even an RV for sale or rent. He had to return to Montana to buy an RV, which he's now living in. A young friend of mine went up to work in food service. She never did find housing. The café owner let her sleep in her car behind the building & use the cafe's facilities to clean up. When winter got close her boss told her she'd better find real housing or leave. She left, because there was absolutely nothing to be had. People are living 10 to a 1-bedroom house. 7 guys to an RV... & food is not cheap. Where she worked was charging $10 for a burger. What's happening up there is typical boom stuff. Totally inadequate infrastructure, including roads. Not enough housing... Not the place to take a family & when someone works away... hard to keep a marriage together. My cousin's divorce is in the works. I must admit that if a hooker has a whoopee van, she must be doing a hellava business.

March 26 2014 at 9:26 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The spring hiring frenzy is just getting started. It's still a great place to live and raise a family. Anyone coming up here should aim for some of the other cities in western to central North Dakota such as Bismarck, Minot, or even Dickinson, prices aren't as insane as Williston. Jobs are all over the western side of the state, not just in Williston. Good luck!

March 19 2014 at 12:10 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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