Lower crude prices are a double edged sword. The average consumer may enjoy the benefits as cheap fuel reduces the costs of goods and services, but for those whose livelihood relies on the energy industry, the extra cash will be of little solice if they no longer have a job. It has taken some time for the reality of the low oil prices to finally trickle down, but after months of plummeting crude, the boom will become bust for the many who will soon face a pink slip.
Since November, one company after another announced massive reductions in their 2015 budgets as they have scrambled to cope with the dramatic 50% drop in crude prices since the summer. The next predictable step began last week as companies announced layoffs and prepare to scale back drilling operations.
Amidst the happy refrains from people who are enjoying lower gasoline prices, there is the occasional cynical comment that suggests the only ones who are hurt by low crude prices are the nameless, faceless, deep pockets of the energy companies. This represents a short-sighted and narrow view of the current reality facing workers, families and local economies.
Not only do layoffs affect workers directly, but a report authored by Dr. Robert W. “Bill” Gilmer for U.H.’s Bauer School of Business estimates that with each new energy job created/eliminated, there are three - four other jobs that are also create/eliminated.
Since January 1st, a handful of companies have announced layoffs and it is only a matter of time before others follow. Some analysts predict things could get very ugly as the layoffs extend to local governments, small business and energy-supporting industries. Highlighted below are several giants who recently announced layoffs for early 2015.
Schlumberger: reported layoffs of a staggering 9000 workers more
Halliburton: recently laid off workers in Houston, but declined to give a specific number more
Apache: Also laid off an undisclosed number of workers worldwide more
U.S. Steel: Over 700 expected to be let go starting in march more