>> For Williston, North Dakota, the fracking party is over. Thousands of people, who just a few years ago flocked to this once booming community to strike it rich, have watched in horror as oil and gas prices have plummeted, taking down businesses along with them. Ernie Scheyder who was stationed in Williston over the course of two years was there to see this now quiet town's rise and fall.
Williston, North Dakota, capital of the state's oil boom, is trying to figure out how to live again after oil prices dropped more than 60% in the past year. We're in downtown Williston right now and it should be packed, it's almost 5 o'clock in the afternoon and yet there are very few cars around and very few passengers going into retail stores.
Williston is not booming like it once was.>> By 2014, the U.S. energy boom supercharged by the fracking revolution had made North Dakota's economy the fastest growing in the nation. But toward the end of last year, the state's economy shrank 3.4%, the weakest performer in the nation and recent gains in global energy prices might be too little too late.
>> All around Western North Dakota's oil communities, you can feel a sense of how the slow down is slowly creeping in. Hotels, which ones were packed to the gills, are now, nearly empty. In Williston alone, the hotel occupancy rate is that 26%. Restaurants, which ones were packed, are now empty for a lunch and dinner.
Apartments which ones cost the highest rate in the entire nation, now have gone down by 50, 60, 70%>> And in some cases, 100%, that is for a limited time. Last month, United Airlines ended direct flights from Williston to global oil hub Houston, Texas. This month, Home Depot will close its Williston store.
And next month, many more residents of this North Dakota town will likely have to decide whether the tough it out, or move on to the next opportunity, if they can find one.