North Dakota employment experts predict demands for oil field workers will only become more intense in 2017.

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota employment experts predict demands for oil field workers will only become more intense in 2017.

The state's core oil-producing counties, including Williams, McKenzie, Divide and Mountrail, have about 1,300 job openings across all sectors, the Williston Herald reported.

It's unclear if President-elect Donald Trump's administration moves are having a direct effect on hiring plans in the industry, but it is boosting optimism for many of the oil and gas producing companies.

"I think there is a tremendous amount of guarded optimism," Alan Olson, spokesman for Montana Petroleum Association, said. "And it is a chance, there again, to make hay while the sun shines and take advantage of where prices are going and see what we can do."

But he said companies should be prepared, in case there is a turnaround.

Cindy Sanford at the Job Service North Dakota office in Williston said the largest uptick is for hydraulic fracturing crews, which average between 45 and 65 people per crew.

Sanford said recruiters from two large oil field services companies, Schlumberger and Oil States, stopped by the Job Service office this week.

Joe Erickson, CEO of E & M Services, said his company is among those currently seeking experienced help. Erickson's company recently put together programs to pair inexperienced workers with mentors in the oil field to train up any new hires that have less experience.

"We have been hiring well over a couple months now," Erickson said. "So we have definitely seen an influx of work coming our way."

A recent U.S. Geological Survey study estimates that the Wolfcamp formation in West Texas' Permian Basin contains 20 billion barrels of oil, and other associated liquids like natural gas. The estimate is three times the 2013 estimate U.S. Geological Survey prepared on the Bakken and Three Forks, making North Dakota's shale play the second largest in the nation, behind the Permian.