Help us: Stark County job openings increasingA recent Job Service report indicating astonishing growth in Stark County’s job market could leave area business owners shaking in their boots.
By: Dain Sullivan, The Dickinson Press
A recent Job Service report indicating astonishing growth in Stark County’s job market could leave area business owners shaking in their boots.
On Monday, Job Service North Dakota released its December 2011 Online Job Openings Report, which shows job openings in Stark County more than doubled in one year.
Available jobs, spread across a wide selection of occupational groups, jumped from 587 in December 2010 to 1,347 a year later, according to the report.
North Dakota Retail Association President Mike Rud said more job opportunities is a “good problem to have,” but area business owners are struggling to find employees as it is.
“We’re going to need to meet the retail demands out there and provide services for these people,” Rud said. “It’s an interesting dilemma.”
Rud added that because an oil boom has hit the area, businesses are fighting to offer competitive wages in order to keep workers.
“It becomes very difficult for a majority of the North Dakota businesses to compete with the Oil Patch folks,” he said.
Since many area workers flocked to the oil fields, Rud said businesses in Stark County have resorted to “stealing” employees from one another. But business owners can only pay their employees so much money before losing a profit.
“If you own your own business, that’s your own pocketbook,” Rud said. “It’s different, I think, if you’re a bigger corporate operation. You can probably get money from a few different sources.”
Michael Ziesch, Job Service North Dakota labor market information manager in Bismarck, agrees with Rud in that more jobs are emerging because of “increased activity due to oil and gas.” He said one-third of the open jobs in North Dakota are oil-related.
“All of 2011 showed growth, and that’s just a function of the really hot economy,” he said. “Especially in that Williston-Dickinson-Minot triangle.”
Ziesch added that job openings, particularly those involving production, are spread out across the state as part of the ongoing oil boom.
“There’s some suppliers in the eastern part of the state that are in wholesale trade and in manufacturing that are obviously benefiting,” he said. “Their products end up in the (Oil) Patch.”
In addition to oil field employees, Ziesch said oil companies are looking for office workers as well.
“It’s not just the roughneck and the truck driver,” Ziesch said. “They’re looking for the HR folk, especially if they’re staging out of Dickinson.”
Not everybody has their sights set on an oil job.
Brianna Strahm, manager of the North Dakota Youth office in Bismarck, promotes student job shadowing in the state. She said students should know of the wide array of jobs that are becoming available.
“Some of the things I say to students when I visit with them is that these (jobs) are not all in the oil fields,” Strahm said.
Ziesch said it is hard to guess how many more jobs will become available in 2012. But it’s likely that jobseekers in western North Dakota are sitting on a gold mine.