Falling gas prices may be good at the pump, but they’re not good for oil companies, which have been laying off hundreds and thousands of workers in the U.S. and worldwide, as crude oil prices have plummeted.
Energy companies have already laid off more than 90,000 workers worldwide and 12,000 in the U.S. since last year, when crude oil prices began their decline and more are expected, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Last week, Texas oil companies reported they were laying off another 400 workers, and that’s not just manual laborers, but also office workers, geologists, and petroleum engineers.
Tim Cook, an oil and gas recruiter in Houston, told the Wall Street Journal roughnecks have been hit the hardest.
“The closer your job is to the actual oil well, the more in jeopardy you are of losing that job. Each time an oil rig gets shut down, all the jobs at the work site are gone. They disappear.”
The number of US oil rigs has declined 46 percent to its lowest level in five years, and now number only 988.
That’s because oil companies aren’t making as much money as they used to. An abundance of crude oil from OPEC and US production has driven down crude oil prices, which may make drivers happy, but isn’t good for the industry.
A barrel of oil now runs $60, compared to a high of $115 in June, 2014, according to Newsmax.
The economic crunch has hit California’s oil producing towns the hardest, including petroleum powerhouse Kern County, which produced more than 10 million barrels of oil in 2011, according to the LA Times.
Although there are no solid estimates, experts say hard hit Kern County has lost thousands of jobs due to declining oil prices.
Even shale oil, which saw an explosion in demand, has become less profitable for oil companies, resulting in a decline in fracking wells.
Fracking is highly controversial as it uses high pressure water mixed with chemicals to drill into hard packed ground. The practice has drawn criticism from across the country, as activists have rallied to demand a moratorium on fracking wells.
Even these activists could be hurt by the falling oil prices, according to some experts who worry the declining gas prices could have a detrimental effect on American conservation efforts.
As consumers are better able to afford larger gas guzzling cars, renewable energy sources become less attractive, according to the Inquisitr.
Oil field jobs have traditionally paid well and have provided opportunity for non-college educated men and women to support themselves financially, but now many have been forced to find other work.
Oil field workers can expect to earn almost twice what regular construction workers make, according to the Wall Street Journal. With hazard and overtime pay, they often pull down salaries of $100,000 or more.