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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:20 PM
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Texas oil country sees the downturn coming

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) In the West Texas oil patch, they can see the downturn coming at them from miles away like a pickup truck kicking up a dust cloud on the horizon.

With crude dropping below $40 a barrel from a high of around $150 over the summer, oil and gas companies in the Lone Star State are cutting back on drilling, the layoffs are beginning, and the boom of the past few years appears to be drawing to a close.

The boom may not necessarily give way to a bust. But the days of plentiful jobs, big paychecks and shiny new pickups and SUVs seem to be numbered.

"It's been a good ride up, but we're bracing ourselves for the ride down," said Midland City Manager Courtney Sharp, who expects a drop in tax revenue next month because of slumping sales in the city of about 98,000.

Kevon Horst, 19, landed his first job over the summer in the booming West Texas oilfields when crude was selling for about $140 a barrel. Horst and about 20 others working a rig near Canadian, about 40 miles from the Oklahoma line, were laid off recently. Gone are his $2,000-a-week job and his apartment.

He and his girlfriend moved in with her mother, and he is struggling to keep up with the $500-a-month payments on his new truck.
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booksenkatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:43 PM
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1. Gee, Texas, guess you shouldn't have put all of your eggs in one basket
Oh, wait, sorry, that's what is usually screamed at those of us living in Michigan who are a part of the Big Three.

Never mind.

(I'm a Texan living in Michigan, I can say these things.)
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fed_up_mother Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:24 PM
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2. Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio are all pretty well diversified
But oil is still a big player, and when the layoffs start coming....sigh
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booksenkatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:45 PM
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3. Up here we're learning painfully and quickly about the domino effect
Even if your business has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Big Three, you're suffering anyway because people don't have any money for goods or services. They don't go out to eat, they don't shop, they don't buy flowers, they don't go to movies, they don't get their nails done... it affects every single level of business. My little business is still hanging in there, but many of my best customers lost their jobs, so I'm in trouble. I don't care what you have for sale, if Michiganders can't eat it or use it for warmth, they aren't buying it right now.

My family down in Tx. is lucky to be in education, working for the government... for now! How long can public schools hold out, I wonder? They're on a shoestring up here, it truly makes one heartsick.

I've fallen in love with Michigan, but I will always love Texas and visit down there as often as I can. I understand Texas' quirks and I know what there is to love about her. :) Not everyone does -- too many people think about GWB when they think of Texas, and that is such a rotten pity.

Y'all hang in there!
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:36 AM
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4. the old timers in this section of the oil patch have been saving up
they have learned the hard way

the young people are driving new trucks and groaning under house payments that ran up before the Federal training facility finished their barracks and rentals were paying a fortune

all the affordable housing got snapped up

to add insult to injury the mines are laying off too

it's scary around here.
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