Fracking Laws, Unemployment Push Californians to Leave for Oil Boom States

Fracking Laws, Unemployment Push Californians to Leave for Oil Boom States

Going, going, getting out of California. Struggling, unemployed Californians have been leaving for greater opportunity in other states. It has been said, as goes California, so goes the country; however, when it comes to leadership in energy policy and jobs, states like North Dakota are blazing the trail.

“The weather’s not going anywhere,” said former San Diego resident and Navy veteran Ryan Schofield, who left San Diego for plentiful job opportunities in Williston, North Dakota. Schofield also said that in 10 to 20 years he would consider returning to southern California.

At a time when the oil and gas industry is booming in states like North Dakota and Texas, California, and her cities, are considering moving to ban innovative practices such as fracking. 

Los Angeles’s City Council took steps in committee in February to ban hydraulic fracturing and similar oil extraction practices, the Los Angeles Times reported. If passed, L.A. would be the first oil-producing California city to ban practices such as fracking. Still other California cities have supported a statewide ban.

California boasts energy production potential in the Monterey Shale double that of the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. The Bakken Shale has been a large driver in North Dakota’s economic success, says Breitbart’s Wayne Winegarden. Winegarden notes, “Based on the latest state GDP data, North Dakota and Texas saw the fastest pace of economic growth since the end of the Great Recession–ranking first and second, respectively. California’s economy was the 14th slowest-growing economy during the same time period.”

At 8.1%, California has one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation, according to March 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Nationwide unemployment sits comparatively lower at 6.7%. North Dakota boasts the lowest unemployment rate in March with a rate of 2.6%.

Stories of job search successes in North Dakota are spreading through the rest of the country and flooding cities like Williston, North Dakota with hard-pressed Americans motivated by job opportunity. Some of those who have moved to the area for recently acquired jobs have been willingly living out of RVs and cars, as they wait for available housing, according to a Fox News report.

The draw for jobs in the oil industry has positively impacted jobs sectors beyond those directly associated with oil and gas. Ryan Schofield left San Diego after facing a job market Schofield referred to as a “continuous struggle.” ABC 10 News tells Schofield’s story. His search for a respiratory therapy job was far more successful in Williston, North Dakota than in San Diego. In the first week’s search in Williston, Schofield received three to four job offers. He emphasized a willingness to sacrifice location in order to build a more successful future.

Job Service North Dakota lists information and resources to aid veterans in their job search. Their website describes preferences specific to veterans for nearly all government employment. The site also points to employment and training services offered for veterans. California currently hosts one of the highest veteran populations in the nation, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. 

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