As the price of crude shows little sign of a resurgence to its levels from two years ago, some parts of America's oil country are taking a much bigger hit than others.
When global oil prices crashed in late 2014, U.S. oil fields braced for lost jobs and wages. So far, the oil bust has taken a $4 billion-dollar bite out of oil patch workers' paychecks, according to the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with no recovery in sight.
American oil and gas producers have seen more than their share of booms and busts since 1901, when the first gusher in Spindletop, Texas, ushered in the modern era of oil and gas production. The latest U.S. production surge, interrupted briefly by the Great Recession, was sparked by a new generation of drilling and exploration technologies that revived hundreds of oil and gas fields once thought to be fully depleted.
From 2010 through 2013, industry employment surged by 30 percent, more than triple the pace of overall U.S. payroll growth. Many of these new workers were well paid; during the same period, the average annual wage for oil and gas workers rose by 6 percent, to $155,000.