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Watford City, North Dakota. Looking west on Route 85. Temporary housing and road constructed for oil and gas workers. (Image: National Parks Conservation Association via Flickr)

Regional Bakken economy beginning to stabilize

Hotel rentals, the flow of sewage and drilling are all down in the North Dakota oil patch, but the mood regarding the continued growth of Williston’s economy is optimistic, reports the Forum News Service (FNS).

At last week’s Williston Economic Development WEST! Conference, the city’s economic activity outside the oil field was highlighted and examined. Organizer of the conference and Executive Director of Williston Economic Development Shawn Wenko told FNS, “Everybody got used to what happened between 2010 and 2015, and that was a tremendous amount of growth, numbers that were off the charts, and that’s a trajectory that’s not sustainable.”

Wenko added that so far, 2015 has been a good year for development, though, it’s happening at a rate that he considers the “new normal.” Denver-based THK Associates, a firm that has conducted over 70 studies on Williston’s economy, reports that due to low oil prices the remainder of 2015 and 2016 will be challenging. However, THK consultant Peter Elzi says, “There’s still people coming here and there’s still activity. People forget the most valuable oil that an oil company owns is still in the ground. It’s a bank for them. It’s there when prices recover.”

Meanwhile, work continues on local projects such as a new airport, new schools, government buildings, as well as pipeline and gas plant expansions. As reported by FNS, Williston Job Service Director Cindy Sanford said people are still coming into the office looking for jobs, just not at the high rates seen in years prior. She said the Williston area currently has about 1.5 jobs for every person, compared to the six or seven jobs for each person in 2011 and 2012. And, despite recent layoffs, Sanford reports that the area has about 1,100 job opening, 190 of which are in the oil and gas industry. To read the full article, click here.


  1. there is still a lot of lay offs going on.

  2. My hope is that Western ND can get all caught up improving existing infrastructure and build new infrastructure. That’s where the money in ND is coming from, they should reap the benefits for those who’ve lived there their entire lives.

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