The gravy train is over for oil workers. All over North America, people that felt very secure about their jobs just a few weeks ago are now getting pink slips. Since 2003, drilling and extraction jobs in the United States have doubled. And these jobs typically pay very well. It is not uncommon for oil patch workers to make well over $100,000 a year, and these are precisely the types of jobs that we cannot afford to be losing. The middle class is struggling mightily as it is. And just like we witnessed in 2008, oil industry layoffs usually come before a downturn in employment for the overall economy.
“If the government and the Kansas Corporation Commission care about the people of Kansas and the damages, they will order a moratorium,” exclaims Joe Spease, chairman of the Kansas Sierra Club's fracking committee following a report from Kansas officials, who have been reluctant to link the mysterious earthquakes in south central Kansas to fracking, admitted last week that "we can say there is a strong correlation between the disposal of saltwater and the earthquakes." As LJWorld reports, it's the first time state officials have so clearly stated the likely cause of the earthquakes, which are afflicting a region where fracking is widely used.
"This is why Putin is Public Enemy Number 1. It’s because he’s blocking the US pivot to Asia, strengthening anti-Washington coalitions, sabotaging US foreign policy objectives in the Middle East, creating institutions that rival the IMF and World Bank, transacting massive energy deals with critical US allies, increasing membership in an integrated, single-market Eurasian Economic Union, and attacking the structural foundation upon which the entire US empire rests, the dollar." Up to now, of course, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have taken the biggest hit from low oil prices; but what the Obama administration should be worried about is the second-order effects that will eventually show up...
The short answer is in parts of Seattle, Charlotte, Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa, Cincinnati, Raleigh, N.C., Houston, Denver, Columbus, Ohio, Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., Raleigh, N.C., Chicago, and Winston-Salem, N.C. Among the 2,490 zip codes nationwide with at least one single family purchase by the top four institutional investors between January 2012 and October 2014, the top 50 zip codes with the highest percentage of purchases by the four largest institutional investors were in those metro areas. “The institutional investors kick-started the housing recovery by buying homes in bulk at the lowest point and holding them as rentals,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market. Los Angeles County was among the top 10 for most purchases by institutional investors over the past three years, with 6,152. “As the market continues to climb, we expect these investors to start to sell off their inventory to capture the gains made in the past couple of years.”
Just a few short hours after a series of deep, if not very strong, eartquakes shook north-central Oklahoma, moments ago the ground zero of the US energy industry, the city of Dallas, TX, felt the ground shaking. According to the USGS, this was due to a 3.5 magnitude quake, which stuck at a depth of some 3.2 miles below the Texas city.
Hope springs eternal that 2015 is the year that the US economy stretches its escape velocity growth as consensus growth expectations at 2.9% are still at their highest since 2005 (although world GDP expectations are falling rapidly). However, as Bloomberg's Rich Yamarone explains, with 5 of the Top 10 economies in the world in or near recession, the wall of worry can be constructed as follows...
But the oil-price crash was supposed to goose consumer spending.
Will truth be stranger than fiction...
Arctic Polar Blast Coming: Midwest Temperatures To Plunge 35 Below Average, Chicago Facing Record LowsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/04/2015 11:42 -0500
Following several weeks of economic data that has been, despite erroneous expectations of a Fed rate hike, one major disappointment after another including regional Fed reports, housing data, manufacturing surveys, construction spending, and durable goods data, the US economy is about to get the slowdown scapegoat it so desperately needs: according to Weather.com, following a brief overnight respite from cold temperatures, entering the first full week of January, both the Midwest and the East will see a plunge to the coldest temperatures of the season. As a result, high temperatures are expected to be up to 35 degrees below average in parts of the Midwest by midweek. Chicago may see a subzero high temperature on Wednesday. The last time the mercury did not reach zero was on January 6 of last year. Chicago may also set a daily record cold high temperature on Wednesday (current record is 3 degrees set just last year) and a record low temperature on Thursday morning (current record is 10 degrees below zero).
Less drilling will not only lead to a loss of jobs for oil workers, but the services that pop up around drilling sites – restaurants, bars, construction, and more – are feeling the slowdown as well. States like Texas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have seen their economies boom over the last few years as oil production surged. But the sector is now deflating, leaving gashes in employment rolls and state budgets. With such extensive dependence on oil for prosperity in these states, the pain will mount if oil prices stay low.
- Behind the Scenes at Sony as Hacking Crisis Unfolded (WSJ)
- Oil Set for Biggest Slump Since 2008 as OPEC Battles U.S. Shale (BBG)
- Praet Warning of Oil Effects Signals Higher Chance of ECB QE (BBG)
- U.S. Opening Door to More Oil Exports Seen Foiling OPEC Strategy (BBG)
- Venezuela confirms recession, inflation hits 63.6 percent in Nov (Reuters)
- U.S. to station 150 armored vehicles in Europe (Reuters)
- China Stocks Rise to Finish Off Big Year (WSJ)
- RBS Suspends Bonuses of 18 Traders Amid FX Rigging Fine (BBG)
Narrative, we have a problem. What is billed day after day as 'unequivocally good' is entirely not good for Alaska (oh and Texas and Pennsylvania and...) as with oil prices dropping, AP reports Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has halted new spending on six high-profile projects, pending further review. With oil taxes and royalties expected to represent nearly 90% of Alaska's unrestricted general fund revenue this year, officials warned, "the state's fiscal situation demands a critical look."
We live in a new world, and the Saudis are either the only or the first ones to understand that. Because they are so early to notice, and adapt, I would expect them to come out relatively well. But I would fear for many of the others. And that includes a real fear of pretty extreme reactions, and violence, in quite a few oil-producing nations that have kept a lid on their potential domestic unrest to date. It would also include a lot of ugliness in the US shale patch, with a great loss of jobs (something it will have in common with North Sea oil, among others), but perhaps even more with profound mayhem for many investors in US energy. And then we’re right back to your pension plans.
For all those who think the upcoming carnage to the shale industry will be "contained" we refer to the following research report from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. For the impatient ones, here is the punchline: "The $300–$400 billion overall annual economic gain from the oil & gas boom has been greater than the average annual GDP growth of $200–$300 billion in recent years—in other words, the economy would have continued in recession if it were not for the unplanned expansion of the oil & gas sector."
No respite for the American oil patch and its investors.