One of the industries that has been adding jobs rapidly in recent years is the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry has added roughly 270,000 jobs between 2003 and 2012. This represents an increase of roughly 92 percent compared to an increase of 3 percent in all jobs during the same period.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. average annual wage in the industry exceeded $107,000 in 2012, the latest full year for which data are available. According to the Wall Street Journal, that is more than double the average for all workers. Communities aligned to America’s energy production renaissance have experienced significant increases in population and employment. Employment in Williams County, home to Williston North Dakota, increased 276 percent between 2003 and 2012.
In nearby Richland County, Montana, employment is up by 65 percent. Data indicate that before the Bakken shale formation-associated boom, average wages for all jobs in Richland County and Williams County were roughly equal to their respective statewide averages. Richland County today has an average wage equal to 133 percent of Montana’s statewide average while the corresponding statistic for Williams County, North Dakota is 170 percent.