This story was posted earlier -- it's now being reported at Rigzone.com. Nothing new for regular readers but a nice human interest story.
North Dakota was the nation's fastest-growing state in the past year. U.S. Census Bureau data show that North Dakota's population grew 2.2 percent to 699,628 in the year ending July 1, as the oil boom drew workers to the Bakken fields in the western part of the state.
"We had rural population declining in western North Dakota for decades," said Dean Bangsund, an economist at North Dakota State University in Fargo who has studied the effects of the oil boom. "Now we are looking at growth curves that are just short of astonishing."
The population boom is mostly driven by an influx of people seeking work, he said. The oil fields alone probably account for 40,000 to 50,000 jobs today, compared with about 3,000 to 5,000 jobs early in the last decade, he added. North Dakota's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 3.1 percent, compared to the nation's 7.7 percent rate. Earlier this year, North Dakota reported 20,000 unfilled job openings. Backman said birth rates also are up because many of the immigrant oil workers are of child-bearing age. Some migrants are bringing families to the state, he said.