Work in North Dakota – ND Employment and Salaries.

By | December 28, 2012

America really is a strange country. We have high unemployment and people literally begging for a job, any job, then we have places like Williston ND. North Dakota is experiencing an oil boom. Williston, ND is one of the centers of the oil boom. A decade ago Williston’s population was about 12,000 now it’s 30,000+ and will probably grow larger.

For all the jobs being created in ND, the problem remains, ND doesn’t have enough people to fill all the jobs, jobs that pay well above America’s median income. Why the hell don’t people want to move to ND and work?

True housing is a problem but that’s being developed. Not only houses but RV parks. This type of development creates more jobs. As the housing problem is solved other infrastructure such as stores and recreation facilities will develop creating more jobs and the need for more people. There is talk about the possible crash of the oil boom but with development in other parts of the world I can’t see the price of oil dropping and staying low for any long period of time.

The smarter people with some resources are moving to ND in some form of camper or RV. Saves them money and reduces the need for housing.  Sure there are problems but it’s better than sitting on the street corner waiting for welfare to arrive.

Things are difficult in North Dakota. This morning (12/27/12) it was -20F (-29C) Housing is very scarce and expensive.

Seriously, if you don’t have a “can do” attitude and mental toughness then North Dakota is not going to work for that person.

However if you do possess those attributes and a desire to succeed despite any roadblocks put in your way, then North Dakota is for you!

The main skill needed is the intense desire to work long and hard. If you arrived totally penniless, without any skills including communication skills, and expect everyone to find a job for you then I think you
would surely struggle horribly possibly even die.

However if you had a thousand bucks in the bank, and a tank full of gas and some good winter clothes and ZERO oil skills I think you would find a job and a reliable place to stay within a week.

The $2,000 rents we read about are for oil companies to pay, not for guys who keep their eyes open and noses to the ground. I pay $400 per month (it’s subsidized by my company) and I know people who rent an entire three bedroom house for $1,200 per month but they networked like crazy and worked out all kinds of deals to make it happen.

If you don’t have a reliable vehicle then you really can’t make it in North Dakota. If you don’t have at least a thousand dollars (not counting the gas to get here) then you can’t make it here. Everyone who is here is from some place else. We have 25 people where I work, only two of them are locals.

The oil companies do have quite a few man camps and are trying to house their employees. There are many support jobs that handle the large increase of population here. Everything from restaurants to Walmart type jobs. If I remember correctly Walmart was offering $17 per hour to recruit employees.

An out of work carpenter with a nail bag and basic carpentry tools could get a job in a day or two. He would probably need a thousand dollars in savings or money that he begged or borrowed from relatives and of course he would need some very good cold weather gear. A carpenter is obviously a skilled job.

Anyone with a commercial truck driving license would get hired and put in some kind of housing right away. They would pay them for three weeks or so of safety and other training and feed them. Again that is a skilled job.

There are a multitude of jobs for cashiers. My youngest son works in a Kum & Go (dumb name) it’s like a 7-11 and he gets $13 an hour. Waiters and waitresses get $12-14 an hour and maybe another $15 an hour or more in tips.

I know an 18 year old who makes $17 per hour as a flagger, our yard guys make a thousand a week or more and some speak English poorly. They pay $200 per month to live in a winterized trailer. We needed an accountant so we put him up in a hotel until our company housing is built.

I know a pipeline laborer who makes $22 per hour and he gets $120 per day in per diem. It’s a cold hard job. He rents a room in a trailer for $200 per month.

Verizon is about the only phone company with good reception here. Networking is everything when you first arrive.

Warehouse jobs are abundant, if you can drive a forklift and don’t have a DUI you will be hired almost immediately.

I went to a little cafe / coffee place they have run out of food and turned me away at least a half dozen times. One of the gas stations ran out of gas. The building center I work at (I am an outside salesman) ran out of 2x4x8ft
and 2x4x16’s. Those are the two most common sizes of lumber in any lumber yard. We get semi loads of them every week yet we managed to run out of them. We have run out of 16d nails and we get pallets of them every week.
We mark them up over 100% and they are gone.

My biggest problem is making sure that I have enough materials to sell. They put the salesmen in charge of ordering because we can’t find an experienced purchasing agent.

I could go on and on. It’s cRaZy here, but the Bakken oilfield area is not for sissies. It’s scary to move here and mother nature is very harsh. I can’t tell you how many times I had to crawl around in the snow/ice in subzero weather to fix a problem.

You are correct that many people can’t or shouldn’t come here. The roads are dangerous, there are inexperienced ice and snow drivers everywhere.

Do you work in ND? Do you want to work in ND? Do you have some views on this article? Please use the comments box below.


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