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Associated Press, Published August 07 2013

Job Service: Oil counties tops in N. Dakota wages

BISMARCK — A Job Service North Dakota survey says counties that produced oil last year held nine of the top 10 spots in average annual wages.

Research analyst Michael Ziesch (zish) says North Dakota's average annual wage increased 10 percent last year to nearly $46,000. Ziesch says the state's average wage still lags behind the national average of about $49,200.

Job Service figures show that oil-rich Williams County ranked first last year with an average annual salary of $78,364. That's up from $70,027 in 2011 and more than triple the average wage in the county a decade ago.

Counties that have lignite mining or power plants had held the distinction of having the best-paid workers in North Dakota until the state's recent oil boom.