Showing us the money: North Dakota wages up all over the place

By Sid Pranke

Who is making more money among public and private workers across North Dakota? According to the most recent data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), almost everybody.
Average weekly wages across North Dakota for private and public workers went up in most counties for the 4th quarter in 2011. Only three North Dakota counties showed average lower wages from the 3rd to 4th quarters in 2011 – Mercer, Towner and Eddy counties (see chart for all county weekly wage statistics here).
Not surprisingly, counties with top wages in the 4th quarter are counties where oil production is taking place. The counties with top five highest weekly wages in the 4th quarter of 2011 include McKenzie with $1,557 a week (up from $1,234 a week in the 3rd quarter); Williams with $1,486 a week (up from $1,365 a week); Slope with $1,331 a week (up from $1,303 a week); Burke $1,244 a week (up most dramatically from $878 a week in the 3rd quarter); and Dunn with $1,221 (up from $1,122).
The county data collection is done as part of a federal/state cooperative program, said Tom McDonald, of BLS’s Office of Economic Analysis and Information in Chicago. “It’s the most comprehensive data set in the country,” he said. Wages for self-employed persons and members of the military are not included.
A look at the annual mean (average) wages specific to oil and gas jobs for May 2011 (the most recent statistics available) showed that derrick operators made an average of $53,930 a year (about $1,037 a week); rotary drill operators averaged $66,330 annually (about $1,275 a week); roustabouts averaged $40,340 annually (about $775 a week); and wellhead pumpers averaged $43,650 annually (about $839 a week).

New wage data for the 1st quarter 2012 is due out Sept. 27.


5 thoughts on “Showing us the money: North Dakota wages up all over the place

  1. Please tell us something that we don’t know. We know the wages are up but so did the cost to live here. I left Montana because of Crap like this, and also because of the attitudes of people, there has been more people moving away from here because of the ” Crap ” write about the crime, inconsiderate drivers, don’t write about things that we knew before u moved here..

    • What is the “Crap” you object to, Joe? Just being informed of the higher wages? Many people want to know who’s getting higher wages, if you don’t. The chart I created with statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics includes info from the WHOLE state, not just the Bakken. I approved your comment, but wish you’d be more clear about your objection, instead of resorting to “Crap.”

  2. Ok.. sorry for the delay, ill try to elaborate as short as I can, first is the influx of contractors undercutting bids, shoddy building techniques, ( investigate this with the city inspector) if you gave me the money to buy a new house here I wouldn’t . Next is the influx of criminal activity, but, then again “you can’t see the trees because of the forest”. Then we have the ever increasing inconsiderable drivers from not here, that don’t have a care in the world how they drive, RED LIGHTS DO MEAN STOP, we won’t even start with road signs, they probaly didn’t go to kindergarten, let alone graduate. I’m not sure how often you drive around town but do so and please observe others, of course without getting involved in an accident from the one that didn’t go to kindergarten, hwy. 22 @ 12 th st. Is the worst area. The number of people who have sold and left because of ” way of life has been lost”. The list goes on and on and its just not here, its filtering out all over the state.

  3. I totally agree regarding some of the drivers. It’s pretty scary when I have to drive down the freeway and a big semi or oil truck is tailgating me.

  4. Lets don’t blame everything on the big rigs…………take a good look at the locals and everyone else driving a car or pickup!

Comments are closed.