Four out of five U.S. oilfield workers who lost their jobs in the fossil price crash have gone on to work in sectors like construction, engineering consulting, chemicals, or retail, “and may not come back even if the industry recovers,” FuelFix reports.
“Labour constraints will be an ongoing bottleneck that will slow and prolong the North American activity recovery,” analyst James West of Evercore ISI told clients in a note last week. “As for the individuals who did not re-enter the oil field, an overwhelming majority have turned their backs on the patch altogether.”
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His assessment was based on a small survey of 40 former energy industry employees.
Nearly 150,000 U.S. workers have lost their jobs since oil prices began to plummet nearly two years ago. Beyond the top four sectors identified in the survey, the former oil and gas mechanics and roustabouts found work in agriculture, technology, financial services, or other sectors. About 20% were still unemployed when they participated in the survey; another 20% had returned to the industry in lower-paying, non-technical jobs.
“The result is a massive age and experience disparity between retirement-ready individuals and the recurring waves of ‘green hat’ new hires,” West wrote.