(October 16, 2020)
The crisis triggered in the energy sector by the pandemic has resulted in more than 100,000 oil service job losses across the country, with Texas being hit especially hard. Many workers and small businesses that relied on servicing the oil and gas sector now find themselves out of work.
One of the worst hit areas has been Midland, a center of Permian Basin activity in west Texas. Unemployment in the town rose five-fold to a peak of 9.6 percent earlier this year. As of June, neighboring Odessa had the highest unemployment rate in the Lone Star State at 13 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.
“It’s kind of a slow death. You know, you start laying people off and finishing up the work you have and hoping the phone would ring,” said Bobby Bounds, former owner of an industrial painting business who was forced to close.