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Officials in regional oil industry stress resiliency

BISMARCK, N.D. — A recent slide in oil prices is leading to fewer jobs in the western North Dakota oil patch, but officials there and in northwestern South Dakota say the regional industry is resilient and will ride out the slump.

Openings posted at the Job Service North Dakota office in Williston have fallen from about 4,500 before the price drop to about 1,900 now, but office Manager Cindy Sanford estimates her office’s postings represent fewer than half of the actual jobs available.

“There are some layoffs yes, we are seeing that,” she told the Williston Herald. “But there are also jobs.”

The need for skilled labor remains high, and qualified workers are quickly finding new employment, Sanford said.

“A guy came in today who had been laid off, and he got a new job for $2 more an hour,” she said.

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One reason for the continued demand for workers is that businesses continue coming into the region, according to Sanford. One that registered last month to do business in the state told her “this is still the land of opportunity,” she said. “‘We’re coming up, we’ll be here in November, and we need 35 people.'”

The effects of North Dakota’s oil boom have spread into northwestern South Dakota, with some companies locating there and some workers living there and commuting to the western North Dakota oil fields.

Executives at a Belle Fourche energy conference organized last week by the South Dakota State University Extension said they expect that impact to continue, the Rapid City Journal reported.

Bob Sieve, manager of Permian Tank in Belle Fourche, said his company has had to lay off seven employees in the past two weeks but is still planning to double the size of its plant and eventually hire more workers.

“I think it’s just going to be delayed slightly,” he said.

 

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.