News / Economy

Oil Wealth Attracts Businesses to North Dakota

Oil Wealth Attracts Businesses to North Dakotai
X
Kane Farabaugh
August 16, 2014 1:53 AM
The state of North Dakota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, thanks to a glut of jobs created by the oil boom in the western part of the state, which rests on one of the largest shale oil deposits in the country. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Williston, North Dakota, the job market keeps growing as more businesses relocate to North Dakota, attracted by the promise of profits -- but not without challenges.
Kane Farabaugh

The state of North Dakota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, thanks to a glut of jobs created by the oil boom in the western part of the state, which rests on one of the largest shale oil deposits in the country. The job market keeps growing as more businesses relocate to North Dakota, attracted by the promise of profits -- but not without challenges.

The once-sleepy town of Williston, North Dakota, is now a booming hub of business, thanks to new ways to extract oil from shale deposits in the region. And everyone wants a piece of the action.

“Williston right now is the fastest growing micropolitan in the nation -- that’s cities under 50,000,” said Shawn Wenko, the Assistant Director of the Williston Economic Development Office. He admitted his organization -- and the state of the North Dakota -- are having a hard time keeping up with the number of people and businesses pouring in to the region.

“You just see the construction that is going vertical is phenomenal. We’ve done over $1.2 billion in permit valuations in the last year in the city of Williston,” he said.

Manufacturing muscle

Vactor Manufacturing received one of those permits. The Illinois-based business makes large industrial vacuum systems mounted on trucks.

Typically used by municipalities as way to clear out sewers and storm drains, Vactor’s equipment also can be used at oil rigs and storage tanks -- increasing the demand for its products in North Dakota’s oil fields.

General Manager Sam Miceli said his company recently built a service center in Williston to maintain the trucks and equipment they’ve been selling to companies in the oil fields. “There’s probably 25-plus competitors in the marketplace, and all of them are trying to get into North Dakota.”

“Being able to support that piece of equipment, it’s a harsh environment, it’s a highly demanding market, so when a machine goes down or they need a spare part, they need it now,” said Miceli. “I’ve never been in a place where money is no option. If you have it, I’ll pay for it.  Which is a real interesting prospect for a manufacturer. So our challenge is figuring out how to get more of it out there.”

He said one of the biggest challenges, though, has been recruiting and retaining service center employees.

“You not only have to pay well, but you have to provide housing and you have to provide incentives to keep those guys on your job,” said Miceli.

Challenges appear

Because of higher rates of pay for many jobs, North Dakota leads the nation in net migration. The state’s economy has grown five times faster than the national average over the last several years -- and the western part of North Dakota is expected to see a 50 percent population expansion over the next several decades as more companies try to cash in on the oil boom.

Which is why Shawn Wenko said Williston is planning for the long term. “We’re going to put $258 million into our roads. We’re looking at upgrading our waste-water treatment facility, upgrading our airport, upgrading our landfill, upgrading city government buildings, fire halls, police stations, everything that makes a city go round.”

That should help deal with two other factors that are growing -- the need for social services, and the crime rate.

 

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7976
JPY
USD
116.28
GBP
USD
0.6353
CAD
USD
1.1655
INR
USD
63.988

Rates may not be current.