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Stark County has second-most oil jobs

Stark County isn’t in the highest ranks of oil-producing counties, but it is for oil-related jobs.

Likely because of companies based in Dickinson, Stark County surpassed three of the top four top oil-producing counties, McKenzie, Dunn and Mountrail, in raw number of oil and gas jobs, according to a report based off 2013 data from Job Service North Dakota.

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Stark County, with 8,374 oil and gas jobs, was far behind top-ranking Williams County, which had nearly 23,000 oil and gas-related jobs last year. McKenzie County had the third-most jobs in the industry, with 5,661. Mountrail County had 3,945.

The report based its findings on where the jobs were based, not where employees actually lived.

The numbers of jobs based in Stark County show it’s an attractive place to be, said Stark Development Corp. Executive Vice President Gaylon Baker.

“I really believe that Stark County and Dickinson have done a good job of keeping the order and keeping the normalcy of life and people appreciate that,” he said.

Stark County Commissioner Russ Hoff said the Stark County numbers aren’t a shock to him.

According to the report, Belfield has 1,433 jobs related to oil and gas, or 84 percent of its total workforce, largely due to MBI Energy Services being there.

“MBI is huge,” Hoff said.

Belfield companies, like MBI, also make up a big chunk of paychecks coming out of the city — 90.7 percent of total wages there are from oil and gas-related jobs, according to the report.

Dickinson is reported to have 6,666 oil and gas jobs of its workforce of 17,140 people. In South Heart, 63 of the 101 jobs are oil and gas-related.

Baker hopes down the line that the percentage of oil and gas jobs — 43 percent — lowers as the economy diversifies in Stark County.

“The percentage I hope to drop because I hope we get a lot more jobs in unrelated fields to supplement the energy industry,” he said. “We do need to diversify our economy to a greater degree.”

Lymn is a reporter at the Dickinson Press. Tweet her at kathlymn.