Oil and Gas

Declining oil prices could worsen labor shortage

Traders expect oil stays in range

For consumers, lower oil prices mean good news at the gas pump. But for energy companies, it could mean a labor shortage—particularly of the highly skilled workers the industry needs—according to a recent article by The Times-Picayune.

Declining oil prices raise labor shortage fears, the newspaper reported, citing Todd Hornbeck, CEO of Hornbeck Offshore Services.

Oil prices have nearly halved over the last year, meaning that companies have had to cut production costs in order to stay competitive. Hornbeck said that he worries that recent layoffs could deter younger workers from pursuing careers in the industry.

The threat of layoffs comes on top of another labor issue for oil companies—highly-skilled, older workers nearing retirement—the so-called "great crew change." Other industry watchers point out that companies may cut back on staff as they get more efficient at conforming to federal safety regulations.

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