Rise of the roughnecks

Quit your job, move to North Dakota and start drilling for gas

  • The typical household in the heart of the US natural gas patch, North Dakota, has seen its income soar 17% between 2000 and 2012, thanks to the energy boom. Over the same period, the typical US family saw its income slump 7%. Here’s an inflation-adjusted look at how things have gone over the last few years.
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  • And it’s not just North Dakota. Other states in the region—Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana and Nebraska—are seeing similar improvements in incomes. Also, Louisiana, a bit further south.
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  • There’s no secret to why this is. The job growth in the energy sector has been nuts.
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This is the definition of a boom. And it’s the latest edition of a rich history of such US economic surges. Titusville in 1859. Texas in 1901. But if there’s one thing the US has learned, it’s that a gusher only lasts so long. So if you’re heading out to the gas patch, you ought to get there while the getting is good.

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