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A North Dakota Oil Boom Goes Bust

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Although drillers and their supervisors are the ones most affected by the slowdown, the livelihoods of those who sell equipment to the oil field have also diminished in recent months.

Jesse Kilwein, 27, is one of those workers. On behalf of Little Dog, LLC, he sells the tools that drillers use to break apart rock formations. In 2012, Little Dog serviced 68 rigs. By March, that was down to 25 rigs and Kilwein’s boss, Charlie Cogdill, expected that number to keep falling, and it did. Before the slowdown, Kilwein and two other full-time salesmen would each work with five or six different drilling companies every day. Little Dog has so few rigs left to service now that Kilwein and his co-worker Zach Schlabsz make their rounds together. The staff has shrunk significantly as of late—the other full-time salesman, two shop hands, and a secretary have left the company or been laid off.


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