The lignite industry is North Dakota’s fifth largest industry behind agriculture, oil and gas, tourism and manufacturing.
The lignite industry (coal mining and coal conversion) accounted for $3.4 billion of the state's economic base in 2015.

The lignite industry directly employs 3,942 people in North Dakota.
There are 11,540 indirect employees in the lignite industry in North Dakota.

The lignite counties of McLean, Mercer and Oliver have some of the highest wages per job in North Dakota.

1. Oliver County $73,522
4. Mercer County $70,468
9. McLean County $56,012

The average wage in North Dakota in 2017 was $50,313.

Source: R. Coon & L. Leistritz, Unpublished Data, Department of Agricultural Economics, NDSU, January 2017