ADP Research Institute, which tracks private payrolls nationwide, said oil, gas and supportive industries have lost 44,000 jobs since November 2014, mostly in the West and South. That spells bad news for an industry that once offered high-paying jobs for workers with little education, Tankersely writes. Lynn Gray, director of economic research and analysis for the Oklahoma Economic Security Commission, told him, “They’re going to have to take lower-paying jobs. There’s going to be very few opportunities paying anywhere near what they’re making.”
More than 90 percent of oil and gas workers lack a college education, so the unemployed have little chance of finding jobs that pay comparably to the median salary of $65,000 a year the industry paid in 2013, Tankersely writes. "Between 2008 and 2013, the median income for prime-working-age oil and gas drillers increased by 70 percent, according to an analysis by economist Brad Hershbein, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project. Over the same period, in the economy at large, the median income for men with no more than a high-school education fell by 6 percent, after adjusting for inflation."
There are only a few other sectors that "pay that well for men with such little education, according to Hershbein, including railroads, power utilities and heavy machinery installation," Tankersely writes. "But none of those sectors have seen the same growth in pay or number of jobs. When the energy sector began pulling back, there was nowhere comparable for those workers to go."