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Published September 26, 2013, 08:47 AM

NDSU researchers to study oil field workers

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two North Dakota State University researchers who have predicted that an influx of oil field workers will continue to boost the state's population now want to know more about those workers.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two North Dakota State University researchers who have predicted that an influx of oil field workers will continue to boost the state's population now want to know more about those workers.

Nancy Hodur and Dean Bangsund, researchers with NDSU's Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department, announced during the Bakken Construction Summit in Bismarck on Wednesday that they plan to study workforce characteristics to complement their previous study on projected population, investment and job numbers in the western oil patch, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

The number of people employed directly by the oil industry is expected to peak at between 45,000 and 60,000 in 2020 and slowly taper off to about 38,000 permanent workers in 25 years, according to Hodur and Bangsund's earlier study.

The researchers now plan to conduct personal interviews and use focus groups and written surveys, starting early next year. They want to find out where workers are from, where they're living and where they would like to live, how old they are, if they're married and if they have children.

Hodur said she and Bangsund hope they will be able to provide builders with insight into the type of housing workers want. The study's findings might reveal a disconnect between what types of housing is in demand and what is being built, she said.

Hodur said it also is unknown whether workers want to live in larger communities where spouses can go shopping and golfing, and whether they want to commute to their jobs or live close to work.

"No one has asked the industry," she said.

The study is expected to take about a year.

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