Williston, ND, population 13,000, is located atop the Bakkan Shale hydrocarbon deposits that have made southeastern Montana and western North Dakota the fastest growing oil patch in the world with new production records set and new wells spudded every month. With such economic activity comes jobs . . . high paying oil jobs.
The current oil boom has catapulted Williston to the top in average wages paid in North Dakota, above Fargo-West Fargo, Bismarck and Wahpeton.A word of caution to the unemployed who are about to pack and set out on a journey to the Promised Land . . . when you get to western North Dakota, you might not find a place to live, because housing and infrastructure are struggling to keep pace with the economy. By the way, the weather forecast for tomorrow shows a high of -4 and a low of -15, an 80% chance of snow, winds at 10-15 mph which puts the wind chill factor at -35. With those conditions, and in a state whose state tree is the telephone pole, some people forget how lucky they are.
Workers make $49,500 on average here, to Fargo’s $38,000. In oil, the fastest-growing employment sector, wages average more than $80,000 a year.
Job Service reported in July  that 6,620 people from other states found jobs in North Dakota in 2009, more than 80 percent more than the 3,631 out-of-staters who found work here in 2008. In June, North Dakota’s unemployment rate of 3.3 percent was lowest in the nation.
In May, the last month for which Job Service has compiled numbers, there were 1,100 job openings in Williston, 655 of them in the oil industry.