North Dakota Now #3 Oil Producer in the Country

North Dakota has now officially become the third largest oil producer in the country, due in large part to the increasing use of hydraulic fracturing. The state moved past California, according to data from the North Dakota Industrial Commission, and is now behind Texas and Alaska in overall production numbers. 

Data compiled by the Commission showed North Dakota's production output rose to 546,050 barrels per day (bpd), up 59 percent from last year and nearly double from 2009 levels. The state now produces more oil than the entire country of Ecuador, which is a member of the oil cartel OPEC. Unemployment levels in North Dakota are at or near historic lows of 3.3 percent and the area surrounding the Bakken formation is experiencing a severe housing shortage with many field workers sleeping in campers and hotels; even the going hourly rate for work in fast food restaurants is $15 an hour.

Expanding growth and high-paying jobs of nearly $100,000 a year have also brought traffic, congestion, and the problems of big city America to rural towns. According to press accounts, the number of reported crimes tripled last year in the boomtown of Williston. The local police noted that a lack of housing was a driving factor in the surge of increased violent crime.