The Bakken Oil Boom

The Bakken oil boom dwarfs previous oil production expansions in Montana and North Dakota. Explore a range of economic, demographic and financial data for the Bakken, and learn about factors driving jobs and other forms of development in the oil patch of North Dakota and Montana.


Last Updated May 8, 2018

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Summary

North Dakota is the second largest oil producing state in the country.

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Oil Drilling Rigs

Apr
2018
Pct. change from a year earlier
North Dakota 54 26%
Montana 1 -0%

Summary

Oil drilling started to rise in 2004, dropped in 2008 when oil prices decreased, and picked back up once prices recovered. The number of rigs started to decrease again after oil prices started to fall sharply in October 2014.

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Production (millions of barrels)

Feb
2018
Pct. change from a year earlier
Bakken Oil Counties 32 13%
Rest of Montana 1 -15%
Rest of North Dakota 2 7%

Summary

The Bakken area represents most of oil production in Montana and North Dakota.

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Employment (Thousands)1

Feb 2018 Pct. change from a year earlier
Bakken Oil Counties 73.72 -0.5%
Rest of Montana 492.80 0.9%
Rest of North Dakota 341.54 0.4%

Summary

Employment doubled in the Bakken from 2009 to 2015; however, employment levels started to fall in 2015 as oil drilling slowed.

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Unemployment Rate1

Feb 2018 Pct. point change from a year earlier
Bakken Oil Counties 2.6%     -1.4%
Rest of Montana 4.1% 0.0%
Rest of North Dakota 2.6% -0.2%

Summary

The decrease in the Bakken unemployment rate following 2009 was sharper than other areas; however, the Bakken unemployment rate started to increase in 2015 as oil drilling slowed.

1 12-month moving average

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Average Weekly Wages

Third
Quarter
2017
Pct. point change from a year earlier
Bakken Oil Counties $1,215 -0.9%
Rest of Montana $802 1.3%
Rest of North Dakota $901 -0.3%

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Construction

2014 Pct. change from a year earlier
Williston building permits 422 79%

Summary

Construction activity for commercial buildings and residential units began rising sharply in the city of Williston in 2010.



Stark County - Housing units authorized

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Construction

2014 Pct. change from a year earlier
Stark county housing units authorized 601 5%

Summary

Stark County, which includes the city of Dickinson, posted rapid gains in housing units authorized in 2012. Stark County housing units authorized comprised 18 percent of all North Dakota units authorized in 2012. For perspective, Stark County has about 4 percent of the state population.

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Deposits at Median Institution

First
Quarter
2017
Pct. change from a year earlier
Bakken Oil Counties -3.6%
Rest of Montana 3.7%
Rest of North Dakota 1.3%

Summary

Deposit growth at Bakken area banks was particularly strong during 2012 and picked up again in 2014.

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Construction & Land Development Loans at Median Institution

First
Quarter
2017
Pct. change from a year earlier
Bakken Oil Counties -11.8%
Rest of Montana 12.5%
Rest of North Dakota -20.4%

Summary

Commercial and development loans at Bakken area banks increased faster than those at other banks in Montana and North Dakota since 2007.

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Incidence of severe mortgage problems

Jan 2017 Pct. point change from a year earlier
Bakken Oil Counties 2.84% 1.82%
Rest of Montana 1.68% -0.31%
Rest of North Dakota 1.36% -0.03%

Summary

The incidence of serious mortgage problems in the Bakken paralleled mortgage problems in the rest of Montana and North Dakota relatively closely until 2010, when it dropped sharply compared with more modest declines elsewhere.

Note: Mortgages that are 90+ days delinquent, in foreclosure, or post-foreclosure but associated with real estate owned (REO) by lenders, as a percentage of outstanding mortgages. Unlike other data in the Banking section, these data are not restricted to mortgages made or held by Bakken-based banks.

More about oil in the Ninth District

From red-hot to lukewarm in the Bakken
fedgazette, January 28, 2016

The Bakken faces a steep drop in oil prices
fedgazette, January 29, 2015

Banking activity in the Bakken still stronger than the rest of North Dakota and Montana
fedgazette, November 7, 2014

Homeland of opportunity
fedgazette, October 6, 2014

Global factors influence Bakken oil boom
fedgazette Roundup, September 16, 2014

Bakken energy production continues to boom, but growth is easing
fedgazette, June 13, 2014

Banking activity and performance in the Bakken in 2013
fedgazette, May 8, 2014

Census says: Bakken growth floating a lot of boats
fedgazette Roundup, March 7, 2014

Bakken stands out in comparison with other shale drilling areas
fedgazette, January 15, 2014

Comparing relative banking performance in the Bakken with banking in other shale energy areas
fedgazette, August 19, 2013

Oil production and economic activity strong, but easing somewhat
fedgazette, August 6, 2013

Congratulations on your oil boom...now the real work begins
fedgazette, July 22, 2013

Oil tax spending: "Pots for this and pots for that"
fedgazette, July 22, 2013

Fine-tuning the oil tax machine
fedgazette, July 22, 2013

Dickinson: Watching and learning
fedgazette, July 22, 2013

Bakken activity: How wide is the ripple effect?
fedgazette, May 7, 2013

Working on the railroad - and the pipeline
fedgazette, April 23, 2013

Dealing with gas
fedgazette, April 23, 2013

Booming sales in North Dakota
fedgazette, February 8, 2013

Frac sand mining spurs rural rail
fedgazette Roundup, July 19, 2012

Sand surge
fedgazette, July 16, 2012

Desperately seeking workers in the oil patch
fedgazette, April 18, 2012

No room at the inn
fedgazette, April 18, 2012

Faces and places from the oil patch
fedgazette, April 18, 2012

After the oil rush
fedgazette, September 1, 2009

Location of the Bakken in the Ninth District

Location of oil patch in the Ninth District

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Kocherlakota - "State of the West Symposium" November 13, 2014

Video: Kocherlakota speech covering the oil boom


The fiscal oil boom

Video: fedgazette Editor Ron Wirtz talks about the fiscal oil boom


Jobs in the oil patch

Video: fedgazette Senior Writer Phil Davies talks about jobs in the oil patch