AP / LM Otero

Oil prices — more or less flat for 15 months — will stay in their current band through the end of the year and only start to bump up against $60 a barrel in 2019, per the Wall Street Journal, placing tremendous sustained and perhaps mortal pressure on oil companies and petro-state governments.

Jobs update: The pressure is also on workers: employment in U.S. oilfields fell slightly last month from June, continuing a year-long trend, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment fell by 700 month to month, and is down by about 1,600 over the year.

According to a poll of 15 investment banks conducted by the newspaper, Brent crude — the internationally traded benchmark — will average $53 a barrel this year, and rise to $55 in 2018; for both years, that is $2 lower than they said a month ago. In 2019, Brent will average $59.60, they said.

An American cap on prices: The main culprit for all of this: U.S. shale drillers, who are finding their oil cheaper and cheaper to produce, cutting costs and conducting only subdued rehiring of workers laid off in the hundreds of thousands over since 2015.So that every time oil prices go up, they produce more, which then pushes prices back down.

Why it matters: Motorists can expect a long additional period of low gasoline and diesel prices. But the pressure will remain on oil companies and petro-states, which have already suffered through two and a half years of low prices that have ravaged balance sheets. Venezuela, for one, has appeared to be on the brink of economic collapse for months.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 21,020,216 — Total deaths: 761,393— Total recoveries: 13,048,303Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 5,289,323 — Total deaths: 167,948 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health.
  4. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.

Facebook goes after Apple

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Facebook is seeking to force a face-off with Apple over its 30% in-app purchase commission fee, which Facebook suggests hurts small businesses struggling to get by during the pandemic.

The big picture: Facebook has never publicly gone after Apple, a key strategic partner, this aggressively. Both companies face antitrust scrutiny, which in Apple's case has centered on the very fee structure Facebook is now attacking.