Oil Well - Photo by Ryan Lackey

As drilling companies cut back, there will eventually be less work for companies that provide ancillary services like fracking or trucking.

“I’d say we’ll lose 20,000 jobs by June,” said Arthaud.

That’s a big number for an area with a relatively small population. It could also be scary for a region that’s been growing so rapidly over the last few years, and building infrastructure to handle the boom.

In neighboring Watford City, Mayor Brent Sanford used a personal example to illustrate the growth: When his daughter was born in 2000, there were three other babies born in the county that year. Now there are 90 kids in her class.

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