North Dakota loses lowest jobless rate as oil prices slide; drill activity sinks to 5-year low

BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota no longer has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation due in part to sliding oil drilling activity.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says North Dakota’s jobless rate in February was 2.9 per cent, up from 2.8 per cent in January.

The agency says Nebraska now has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 2.7 per cent.

The number of drill rigs in western North Dakota’s oil patch this week slipped below 100 for the first time in five years due to the sagging price of crude oil.

There were 97 rigs drilling in North Dakota on Friday. That’s 99 fewer than on the same day one year ago and the lowest since March 2010.

Each active oil rig represents about 175 direct and indirect jobs in North Dakota.