The Most Oil-Rich States

Print Email

10. Montana
> Proved reserves of crude oil: 343 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 4 (tied for 10th most)
> Unemployment rate, Jan. 2012: 6.5% (tied for 13th lowest)
> Share of jobs supported by oil and gas: 6.4% (11th highest)

Montana’s huge oil reserves have caused the oil industry to become a major in-state jobs provider. As of 2009, the oil and natural gas industry accounted for 6.4% of total employment, including both direct and indirect employment, in the state. Additionally, the labor income — defined as the wages, salaries and benefits, as well as proprietors’ income — made by those working in the industry accounted for 7.7% of the state’s total labor income. This is the eighth-largest share in the country.

Also Read: The Most Popular Cities of the Ultra-Rich

9. Louisiana
> Proved reserves of crude oil: 370 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 17 (3rd most)
> Unemployment rate, Jan. 2012: 6.9% (16th lowest)
> Share of jobs supported by oil and gas: 15.1% (2nd highest)

The oil and gas industry appears to have a greater effect on Louisiana’s economy than it has in some states with even more crude oil reserves. For instance, the state has 17 oil refineries, the third most in the country, and the oil and natural gas industry accounts for 15.1% of total employment in the state — the second-largest share in the country. The industry also supports just under 23% of the state’s economy — also among the country’s highest rates.

8. Utah
> Proved reserves of crude oil: 398 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 5 (tied for seventh most)
> Unemployment rate, Jan. 2012: 5.7% (ninth lowest)
> Share of jobs supported by oil and gas: 4.9% (15th highest)

In general, Utah has a strong economy. Its unemployment rate is significantly lower than the national average, and from 2005 to 2010, median household income in the state increased by more than 14% — one of the country’s highest rates. The state also sits on top of nearly 400 million barrels of crude oil. The oil and natural gas industry accounts for 7.4% of the state’s economy. While this is only the 14th largest share, it is still quite significant.

7. Wyoming
> Proved reserves of crude oil: 583 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 6 (tied for fourth most)
> Unemployment rate, Jan. 2012: 5.5% (seventh lowest)
> Share of jobs supported by oil and gas: 15.8% (the highest)

Wyoming has the second-lowest population density in the country — and lots of oil. As a result, nearly one in six residents work for the natural gas and oil industry, either directly or indirectly. This is the largest share in the country. Just under 20% of labor income is produced in the industry — also the highest rate. Compared to 2005, residents of Wyoming are now making more money on average. Median household income has increased by 15.8%, the second most in the nation.

6. Oklahoma
> Proved reserves of crude oil: 622 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 6 (tied for fourth most)
> Unemployment rate, Jan. 2012: 6.1% (12th lowest)
> Share of jobs supported by oil and gas: 14.1% (fourth highest)

Oklahoma has six oil refineries — the fourth most among states — to accommodate its vast reserves of crude oil. The state’s oil and natural gas industry supports nearly 300,000 jobs in the state, or 14.1% of total employment. This is the fourth-largest share in the country. The industry also accounts for 19.3% of the state’s total labor income — the largest share among all states.