And here is yet another reminder of why it's going to be very tough to convince a lot of working-class Americans that we should move away from fossil fuels.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently produced a breakdown of job growth during North Dakota's oil rush, and it's pretty remarkable. In counties where oil rigs have sprouted up to drill from the Bakken Shale Formation -- a few of which are actually in Montana -- employment grew by 35.9 percent from 2007 to 2011, from about 78,000 jobs to more than 105,000. But much as in Texas's shale country, the impact on local job growth has actually been dwarfed by the impact on local income. Total wages more than doubled from $2.6 billion to $5.4 billion. Average pay jumped by more than half, from $33,040 to $50,553.
Blue-collar men suddenly finding high-paying work in the fields is a big part of the story. But jobs and paychecks have surged across industries. Some of the fastest growth has been in professional and technical services, a category dominated by college educated workers. Earnings have grown the most in real estate, which, with rents rivaling Manhattan in the boom town of Williston, isn't that much of a suprise. But they've also jumped in working class sectors like transport (think trucking), construction, and even food services.