Workers in the oil and gas industry in North Dakota were employed in “informant jobs”, and paid informants, in order to get information, the state says.
North Dakota has a population of some 5.8 million.
It has a huge unemployment rate of 13.7 per cent.
The state’s unemployment rate is double that of the US average, but is still higher than the national average.
But the state’s oil and mining boom has given the state a unique position in the US economy.
More than two million people work in the state and, despite being more than two times the size of the next largest state, is more reliant on oil and mineral royalties than most other states.
The oil and coal boom also has given a boost to North Dakota’s unemployment rates, which hit a record high of 17.6 per cent in December last year.
“We’ve got to make sure that we’re not just making this job that’s not available to us anymore,” said state Representative Joe Dibble.
“It’s very, very important that we get that job.”
The oil boom has allowed for many people to become involved in the industry and the state has been able to recruit thousands of new jobs, said North Dakota Governor Steve Bullock.
“You have some people who are here now that have been in the workforce for 20 years and have seen the oil industry grow and they’ve seen it in terms of their income and their income generation, so they’re a part of the oilfield economy,” he said.
The number of oil and natural gas workers has risen by a factor of three in the past decade.
“There’s no question that there’s a lot of people out there, and that’s why we’re able to continue to add to our workforce,” Mr Bullock said.
He added that the oil boom had been “transformative” for North Dakota.
“In the last decade or so, there’s been a lot more economic growth in North America than ever before, and the oil field industry has been very resilient,” he added.
Mr Bullocks announcement came after a report by the US Department of Labor found that about 15 per cent of oil workers had been laid off since the start of the downturn.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics report also found that the unemployment rate for oil and oilfield workers was 12.7.
The State Department says the number of people with a job has increased by more than one million, with the number in North Dakot falling from 5,600 in 2014 to 3,700 in 2016.
“The economic growth that we’ve seen over the last four or five years has been so phenomenal that we can’t just go back to our pre-recession levels,” said Ms Fagan.
She said the unemployment figures were just the tip of the iceberg.
“I’m sure that if you go back a few years we saw a whole lot more job losses, and then we got a couple of months of unemployment, but I think we’ve had a couple more years of unemployment,” Ms Faggan said.
“But we’re seeing it come back, and so we have to continue that trend.”
‘There’s a huge need’ The unemployment figures do not include oil workers who have lost their jobs, but there are still plenty of jobs in the sector.
The jobs created by the boom in the last few years have not only allowed the oil companies to hire new staff, but also boosted the state economy, with an estimated $8.3 billion added to the state gross domestic product (GDP) last year, according to the North Dakota Office of Economic Development.
“Those people are coming into the workforce because they’re really good employees, and they’re making the economic growth go even further,” said Jim DeGross, who was the director of the North Dakota office of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
“The job opportunities are there, the opportunities are growing, and I think the industry has really caught on to that.”
North Dakots unemployment rate has been falling steadily since the oil downturn, but that has not translated into job creation for many.
Ms Fagin said the oil bust had meant that many workers had had to give up their jobs.
“Many of those workers, when they came back into the industry, they had a different job that they could do,” she said.
Ms DeGrols comments were echoed by Senator Joe Manchin.
“North Dakot is a big economy, but it is a small economy, and we need more people,” he told the BBC.
North Dakotes unemployment rate was at its highest in two years last year at 14.9 per cent, according the US Bureau for Economic Analysis.
“If you have people who can’t find a job that pays the wages, that’s a big problem, and there is no doubt that we have a huge shortage of workers,” Mr Manchin said. North