North Dakota leads the nation in employment with a 2.7 unemployment rate in December, but 4,000 jobs were lost in the same month, also making the state the US leader in employment declines. From November to December 2015 and December 2014 to December 2015 the state lead the nation in percent total jobs decline, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
Most of these jobs are due to the slowdown in the western part of the state in the Bakken Shale Play. Production in the 2nd leading state producer of oil, after Texas, is at a decline, down 2.5 percent from November to December and 6.5 percent lower than December 2014. Output is at 1.15 million barrels per day.
Today, the active drilling rig list counts just 38. Oil producers and service companies expect to continue making layoff decisions in order to decrease costs during the first six months of 2016, according to Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota Industrial Commission Department of Mineral Resources.
Leveraged companies, companies operating with a large amount of debt, will struggle the most with financial problems and bankruptcy. It may be confusing why companies who performed so well during the boom look significantly worse than other companies that seemed mediocre comparatively. This is in part due to the fact that leverage magnifies both gains and losses, making good years look great and poor years look awful.