BISMARCK, N.D. — Wages have declined in North Dakota for the second consecutive year.

The total wages decreased 8 percent in 2016 after dropping 2 percent in 2015, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The average annual wage also saw a nearly 4 percent drop to nearly $48,900 statewide.

The state’s oil and gas extraction wages dropped by nearly 3 percent to an average of more than $120,400. Truck transport, petroleum and coal average wages also saw a decrease. The energy industry has the highest average wages in the state despite the drops.

“While the oil industry’s impact on wages has decreased in the last couple of years, the number of employees in the lignite industry has remained steady and these jobs at the mines and plants reflect some of the highest wages in the state,” said Steve Van Dyke, a spokesman for the Lignite Energy Council.

In Burleigh County, the real estate and leasing industry had the biggest drop in average wages, which decreased 25 percent to more than $39,000.

Oliver County saw the highest wage average of any county in the state with more than $71,700.

The largest average wage increase in the state was in the agriculture, foresting, fishing and hunting industries, which was up 8 percent to nearly $30,400. Average mining wages also saw an increase of more than $88,800 statewide.

Information from: Bismarck Tribune,

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