BISMARCK-With oil activity on the rise, wages are up in North Dakota following two years of decline.

Statistics released by North Dakota Job Service show wages in the state increased 3 percent over 2016 levels, averaging $50,313 statewide in 2017, though not overtaking 2014 as the year with the highest average wages.

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Williams County saw highest growth in wages, increasing 6 percent from $69,997 in 2016 to $74,287 in 2017.

Coal country slipped to the second highest in wage growth, as Oliver County saw average wages increase by 2.5 percent from $71,719 in 2016 to $73,522 in 2017. Besides Oliver County, Mercer County, home to three power plants, the Dakota Gasification Co.'s synfuels plant and two mines, came in fourth place. McLean County, home to Coal Creek Station and Falkirk Mine, was ranked eighth.

McKenzie County, another oil powerhouse, ranked third at $70,987 in average wages.

Dunn, Mountrail, Stark, Slope and Burke counties in western North Dakota rounded out the rest of the top 10 in average wage growth.