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A North Dakota oil worker: 'I miss my family'

Many oil-field workers in North Dakota left their families behind. Brian Martindale is working for two years as a truck driver while his wife and three small children are home in Minnesota.

The oil boom in North Dakota has created tens of thousands of jobs with good wages -- pretty much in the middle of nowhere. So for workers across the U.S., the boom is an opportunity to get back on their feet, pay off debts, save some money, at a cost -- leaving their families behind.

Todd Melby is reporting from Williston, near the Montana state line, for a year-long project, Black Gold Boom, an initiative of Localore and the Association of Indpendents in Radio. His family's back in Minnesota. He started out living in a mancamp -- one of those temporary barracks for oil workers. But he's lucky -- he's now renting the basement of a house in Williston.

Marketplace is airing a series of Todd's vignettes of people and scenes from the boom region. In this one, he talked to another man living away from his family.

About the author

Todd Melby is a North Dakota-based reporter covering the oil boom for public media project Black Gold Boom: How Oil Changed North Dakota.
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Not worth it... I moved to MN in the 1990s when unemployment was 2%. The labor shortage ended during the Dotcom Crash. Without a great job, the long, subzero winters and limited lifestyle & entertainment was no longer tolerable. Since the average career lasts 5 years, I only consider living in places that I can enjoy outside of work (even unemployed).

BTW--with livestock dying around fracking regions, the gas drilling boom may not last long.

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