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These 6 states are most dependent on oil, gas, and coal production

The industries that extract oil, coal, and natural gas only make up about 2 percent of the US economy. But some states are much more reliant on mining and energy production for their livelihoods:


Energy Information Administration

The chart above comes from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which looks at the states that are most reliant on mining and fossil-fuel extraction. A short breakdown:

Wyoming's mining sector has seen a large boom in the past decade, particularly as US coal production continues to shift from Appalachia to Wyoming's Powder River Basin. Advanced fracking and horizontal drilling techniques have also allowed companies to extract oil and gas from the Niobara formation.

Alaska is the one big state bucking the trend — whereas lots of other energy states have seen a boom in fossil-fuel production due to fracking, Alaska's mining industry actually declined last year. One big factor: conventional oil production is declining in the state's crucial North Slope oil fields.

West Virginia's massive coal industry has also faced a decline — particularly as US coal plants shut down and production moves to Wyoming. But the state's mining sector is still growing, in part because shale-gas production has risen sharply in the state.

North Dakota has seen the biggest boom, in large part due to tight oil production in the Bakken region. In 2003, energy production made up just 2 percent of the state's economy. Now it makes up 14 percent. (That's also a big reason why North Dakota's unemployment rate is now a minuscule 2.7 percent.)

Oklahoma has seen a big jump in its energy production sector — growing 19 percent last year (and 7 percent annually over the past decade). Fracking and other new drilling techniques are a big story there.

Texas actually has the largest mining sector of any state. But because the rest of its economy is so large, mining only makes up about 11 percent. Still, that state has also seen a big fracking boom.

Further reading: 11 maps that explain the US energy system

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