(MONEY.CNN) — Marcus Benson moved 1,500 miles from his home in Philadelphia to North Dakota for the shale boom.
He made the lengthy drive -- with no job and nowhere to live -- in April 2012 after hearing on the news that the state had the lowest unemployment rate in the country.
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"I felt like it was a good opportunity. I wasn't doing much," Benson, who had been working odd jobs after dropping out of college, told CNNMoney.
He immediately landed good-paying work loading rail cars with sand used for fracking.
"I went from doing odd jobs for $8 an hour to $25 an hour. I thought that was crazy," Benson said. It wasn't long before he was earning $30 an hour.