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Black gold makes ND oil workers the state's best paid

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The booming paychecks of North Dakota's oil workers are showing up in a state ranking of average annual wages.

The Associated Press reports that counties that produce oil held nine of the top 10 spots in the accounting of salaries across the state. The research comes from the state Jobs Service. The state agency's figures show that Williams County, located in the heart of the Bakken oil field, had the top salaries reported for 2012. The resrarch found that workers there pocketed an average annual salary of $78,364. That's a sharp hike from the average salary of $70,027 that was reported in 2011. It triples the average wage reported there a decade ago.

The research showed that North Dakota's average annual wage increased 10 percent last year to nearly $46,000, but it still falls short of the national average of about $49,200.

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