I want for everyone, local people, people from out of state, and people who are considering moving to Dickinson, North Dakota, to know what is going on here. The oil boom is over in North Dakota, it was over by the end of 2014. Since then, everything has become less busy with each passing month in Dickinson, North Dakota.
During the morning work rush hours in Dickinson, 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., traffic is not heavy. From 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., traffic is very light. After 8:00 p.m. in Dickinson, the streets are almost empty. After 8:00 p.m., there are only three to six people in each of the downtown bars on a week night. After 8:00 p.m., it is the same thing in each of the grocery stores, only about three to six customers.
Outside of town in the industrial areas, there are many commercial buildings and warehouses that have become vacant. In town, there are many commercial and retail spaces that have become vacant.
The Sears store has sold most of its inventory, there is hardly anything left in the store, and they are permanently closing in just a few days. The Family Fare grocery store on highway 22 is closing in just a few days, much of their inventory is already gone.
In downtown Dickinson, there are two family owned businesses that were very rude to me, and several other people that I have spoken to. I spent about $500 at one business, and about $1,000 at the other business, yet the owners were shitty with me when I came to their stores to buy more equipment. I enjoy driving by their stores now at various times throughout the day, and I see that they have zero customers.
I am not going to list every tenant from every retail, commercial, and industrial building in Dickinson that has left, because it would take too long and it would be difficult to include every one. In general, in buildings where there are five or more tenants, it has gone from one vacancy, to two, then three, and so on as the months have passed in Dickinson. What I want for people to understand, is that more and more business will continue to close in Dickinson.
I have had a couple of discussions recently with two men who are my age, late forties, who have lived and worked all over the United States, who came to Dickinson right when the oil boom began in 2007. They lived and worked through the housing shortage, and the worker shortage in Dickinson. One of these men is an electrician who has had his hours reduced more and more, as other workers are let go. One of these men is a roustabout foreman who has had his wage rate reduced by $7 per hour, as other workers are let go. Both of these men admit to there being a scarcity of jobs right now, and every indication that things will get much worse in employment.
All three of us, do not like it when uninformed people in the area say things like, “Things are starting to pick up again.”, “The drill rig count is up.”, “Its starting to turn around now.”, and “People are going back to work now.” These statements are absolutely not true, although the drill rig count may go up from time to time. It is not helping anyone to give them false information, it is actually harming many people.
There are many people who have reduced work, have lost their jobs, or have been unable to get a job, who should do everything they can to plan on leaving North Dakota. They need to look into what things are like in Minneapolis, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, what kind of job can they get there, where can they live, and how are they going to get there.
It is about to get cold again in North Dakota, and there will be a winter work slow down. It is wrong, and it is harmful to mislead people who have lost their job or who have not been able to get a job, into believing that if they wait here, the oil field is getting ready to pick up again, it’s not.
It would actually be better for everyone in Dickinson to know and to say, “The oil field is not going to pick up any time soon. More people will probably lose their jobs. It’s time for people to start thinking about where else they could live, and where else they might go to earn a living. It is not going to be good to encourage people to stay in Dickinson, there will end up being many unemployed people in Dickinson if some of these people don’t try to go someplace else.”