Dan Boyce

Bruce Friest asks himself if he would have done it again, knowing what he knows now – move from Minnesota to start a small trucking company during the peak of North Dakota’s oil boom.

“I don’t know if I would, I really don’t,” he said. “It was hard on me, it was hard on my kids, I was married and my marriage fell apart.”

A couple of years ago, his trucks were sub-contracted to haul oil by a larger trucking company. Then that company, Montana Midwest, went bankrupt, still owing Friest more than $200,000.

Mining job losses in Wyoming at the end of 2012 have contributed to the lowest job and payroll growth in the state in over two years, despite modest economic growth overall.

David Bullard is a senior economist with the Wyoming Department of Workforce services. He says that the slight increases in tourism-related fields, such as accommodation and food service, are not making up for heavy losses elsewhere.