"Its' Crazy": Texas Roiled By Unprecedented Labor Shortage As Shale Industry Hires "Just About Anyone"

A battle is playing out in Midland, TX between employee-starved local businesses and multinational energy companies who are poaching local residents left and right for high-paying jobs as the latest Permian Basin shale-oil boom accelerates.

Midland Mayor Jerry Morales says the boom is a double-edged sword; while the energy industry has increased sales-tax revenue by 34% year-over-year, an incredibly low unemployment rate of  2.1% has resulted in a severe shortage of low-paying jobs around town - such as the 100 open teaching positions, according to Bloomberg.

Morales, a native Midlander and second-generation restaurateur, has seen it happen so many times before. Oil prices go up, and energy companies dangle such incredible salaries that restaurants, grocery stores, hotels and other businesses can’t compete. People complain about poor service and long lines at McDonald’s and the Walmart and their favorite Tex-Mex joints. Rents soar. -Bloomberg

"This economy is on fire," said Morales - who is also the proprietor of Mulberry Cafe and Gerardo's Casita. Unfortunately, the fire is so hot that the Mayor is scrambling to fill open jobs - from local government positions, to cooks at his restaurants. 

In the country’s busiest oil patch, where the rig count has climbed by nearly one third in the past year, drillers, service providers and trucking companies have been poaching in all corners, recruiting everyone from police officers to grocery clerks. So many bus drivers with the Ector County Independent School District in nearby Odessa quit for the shale fields that kids were sometimes late to class. The George W. Bush Childhood Home, a museum in Midland dedicated to the 43rd U.S. president, is smarting from a volunteer shortage.

And it doesn't take much to get hired by the oil industry - which, as Bloomberg summarizes, "will hire just about anyone with basic training"... and it will quickly double, triple or x-ple their pay in the process. "It is crazy" said Jazmin Jimenez, 24, who flew through a two-week training program at New Mexico Junior College about 100 miles north of Midland. Jimenez was hired by Chevron as a well-pump checker. "Honestly I never thought I’d see myself at an oilfield company. But now that I’m here -- I think this is it."

And at $28-an-hour, Jimenez makes double what she was earning as a prison guard at the Lea County Correctional Facility in Hobbs. 

Meanwhile, innovations in oilfield technology promise to find new and efficient ways of finding and pulling oil from the pancaked lawyers of rock in the 75,000 square-mile Permian basin - an extraction method which now accounts for 30% of all US output

The booming shale economy has also effected the local real-estate market - as the supply of homes for sale is the lowest on record according to the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. 

The $325,440 average price in Midland is the highest since June 2014, the last time the world saw oil above $100 a barrel. Apartment rents in Midland and Odessa are up by more than a third from a year ago, with the average 863-square-foot unit commanding $1,272 a month.

People who move for jobs are stunned by the cost of living. Armin Rashvand’s apartment is smaller and costs more than the one he rented in Cleveland before moving last August to run the energy-technology program at Odessa College.

“That really surprised me,” he said, because Texas’s reputation is that it’s affordable. “In Texas, yes -- except here.”

Some of Rashvand's students with two-year degrees are making more than he does, despite his master's degrees in science, electrical and electronic engineering.

Keep on truckin'

And for those who would rather work a bit further upstream from the oilfields, schools that teach how to pass the test for a commercial drivers license (CDL) are packed.  “A CDL is a golden ticket around here,” said Steve Sauceda, head of the workforce training program at New Mexico Junior College. “You are employable just about anywhere.

Truckers in the shale fields can easily make six-figures, such as Jeremiah Fleming, 30, who is on track to make $140,000 driving flatbed trucks for Aveda Transportation & Energy Services Inc., hauling rigs. 

“This will be my best year yet,” said Fleming, who used to work in the once-bustling shale play in North Dakota. “I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”

So what is Mayor Morales doing? 

In order to try and retain employees, Morales has come up with several strategies - such as weekly vs. twice-monthly paychecks, more opportunities for overtime, and a "common-sense pitch" to employees thinking of jumping ship for the oil fields: 

“If you’ll stay with me, I can give you three quarters of what the oil will give you but you don’t have to get dirty or worry about getting hurt.” 

Comments

Vilfredo Pareto Fri, 06/08/2018 - 15:22 Permalink

Get a job in the oil patch.  Take any job offered.  Then work all the jobs on the rig.  In five years you will be managing a rig making $150,000 per year working two weeks every month.  All you have to do is show up and work and learn.  The bar is low.  It is amazing how easy it is and how few actually bother to attempt it.

Tarzan wadalt Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:06 Permalink

I have a terrible habit.  When I go offshore Fishing in St Augustine , afterward I almost always stop at Dairy Queen and get a buster bar for the trip home.  I know, not good.

Anyway, after fishing last Saturday, I stopped by as usual, and was shocked to find the place deserted.  My boat is far to big for the drive through, so I always park out back and go in.  Despite there being nobody there, I went to the front door to have a look anyway.  Curiosity got me, because this place is in the heart of the tourist section, so it's always swamped.

On the door I found a hand written note from the Manager saying,

"we are closed due to unreliable employees, we hope to reopen IF we can hire new help, and train them."

In reply to by wadalt

ravolla Tarzan Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:29 Permalink

 

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****

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****

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>>  Biblicism: that's me.
>>  All the porn at Celebrity-leaks: that's me
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That's my life: mopping the floor at the Porn Cinema at 2am, working the drive-thru window at SONIC, sucking cock on the Internet, and spamming ZH with an enormous Excel spreadsheet of the log-on's of dozens of "digital friends" who upvote one another and virtually suck my little micro penis..

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Swing by my (our?) double top-secret awesome BLOG about how the JOOS do everything AND, while you are there dying a slow death, pick up a CHRISTIAN VIRUS and a whole load of CRUSADER TROJANS inside your DEVIL COMPUTER:

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WARNING:  GRAPHIC STUPIDITY

In reply to by Tarzan

Peterman333 Tarzan Fri, 06/08/2018 - 21:45 Permalink

Noticed similar, not a closed store but, when you go by a fast food or ice cream place say on a Sunday evening or probably any evening, the woeful help they have working there. It's basically to the point where you need to go to the store and skip any fast food because the staff they have working is small and overwhelmed.

In reply to by Tarzan

MK ULTRA Alpha just the tip Fri, 06/08/2018 - 17:54 Permalink

This time is different  because of the pipeline investment, two major midland to port pipelines will be completed in 2019. This region - the midland region will quadruple in size, the pipelines gives this region direct market access.

I wrote in April on ZH the need for every man, woman and child, a huge work force  for the Permian Basin, it's the greatest boom in Texas history and that's saying something. Now the pay is gyrating out of control for anyone who will stand an be a man, or a woman or a 16 year old kid, they need you from Dallas over to Midland.

Texas needs more workers and they're coming from everywhere including Communist California,(we send the Californians and New Yorker and don't forget Chicago, are immediately sent to state sanctioned reeducation camps, many from California are feral and require an adjustment phase. After reeducation they're free to be Texans and enjoy the fruit of the Great State of Texas, a Republic and a free country.

Come on over and down and be a Texan, join the Texas State militia under the command of the governor, or a militia of your choice, all homosexuals and communist are to be killed off but freedom for all and Jews, better watch it, anti-everything is growing and we're anti-everything and believe, you need to shut up.

We'll even let you ride a horse, shoot a six gun, convert to Texas freedomism, enough land to make a man produce and a woman horny. We even have our own beer, many now.

And don't forget, the center of the universe is Austin, Texas.

One can become rich and happy in Texas, and it's not so cold as NYC and not as many Jews by far, one must get in early on the greatest expansion in Texas economic history.

In reply to by just the tip

TGF Texas kalboking Fri, 06/08/2018 - 20:44 Permalink

No, but since your asking, a real man would do the following:

Find the soy boy with the hottest chick, make eyes with her for a while, when he leaves to get a drink, walk over and whisper in her ear, "I can't wait for later tonight, when I get to tongue punch you in the butthole, and when I get thrown out of here I will be at the bar across the street."

If she keeps making eye's you know your in like flint. Once her boyfriend decides it's time to leave, run into him on purpose and beat his ass like he stole from you." Walkout, and go to the bar across the street, wait 30 minutes to an hour. 

When she comes in tell her how pretty she is, and your sorry you had to do that, but you throught she was a real woman, and she deserved to be with a real man. Later, tell her that you really want to be in a realtionship with her, but she needs to prove she's a real woman, by taking a load in all three of her holes in the same night. 

Once you bust one in her butt, and she's cleaned your junk with a BJ, pass the fuck out. The next day, block her number after she calls you, and you explain to her that she didn't take a load in all three, and you can't waste time given every woman more than one try at it. 

 

That's what a real man would do....Like a BOSS!!

In reply to by kalboking

phaedrus1952 MK ULTRA Alpha Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:10 Permalink

Breezy tone aside, MK, the scope of what you said is dead on.

Past 100 years, the Permian produced 30 billion barrels of earl.

Current projections from unconventionals call for 75 billion more.

Operators were saying this 3 to 5 years ago and the Know Nothings were laughing at 'em.

They ain't laughing now.

 

Recent advances in fracturing - especially use of micro proppants and diversion materials are enabling MUCH higher recovery rates in MUCH more tightly controlled areas in these 'micro reservoirs'.

Coming up will be the secondary/tertiary recovery techniques (EOR) targeting the 90% of oil currently left behind. Early pilot tests show mixed results, but these boys will get there.

The more impactful aspect will be the oil/natgas competition as an energy source.

The blowout spread in HH/WTI equivalence strongly favors those who can capture and utilize this energy in gaseous form.

New Adsorbed Natural Gas technology bodes well for CNG to be used in transportation vehicles.

Amount of US shale gas can be measured in centuries.

In reply to by MK ULTRA Alpha