Unemployment Is Up In The Bakken Oil Economy

The Bakken shale region centered in North Dakota has been a wellspring for not only oil industry jobs but also ancillary service jobs. But the falling price of oil (currently at around $40 a barrel) has led to a rise in unemployment in the Bakkenshale region. This has led many oilmen to rely on severance pay, unemployment insurance or filing for workers’ compensation claims if they were injured on the job in order to get by.

Extent of Bakken Region Unemployment

According to the BLS, the North Dakota mining and logging sectors registered 28,600 jobs as of April 2015, which is down from 32,400 jobs in January 2015. This has afflicted all the major shale oil counties in North Dakota: McKenzie, Mountrail, Dunn and Williams counties. These counties all have fewer job openings presently with the immediate future looking bleak due to continued downward pressure on global oil prices. The number of unemployed are likely even higher than being reported since many of these laid-off workers return back to the resident states and are therefore not counted on North Dakota's unemployment numbers.

How Workers in the Bakken Shale Are Dealing with Job Loss

The problem in the North Dakota Bakken region has been that the shale drilling rig count has been continuously dropping right in line with falling oil prices. Companies are willing to let go their most inexperienced workers first as a cost-cutting measure, but then start laying off higher-quality workers later down the line. These higher-quality workers are more likely to stay in North Dakota and search for more work. These former employees could be getting by via unemployment insurance or family support. If you or someone you know has been injured on an oil rig or wrongfully terminated from their job, please contact us for a legal consultation.