Dec 18, 2019

The U.S. shale slowdown hits Texas jobs

Ben Geman, author of Generate

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A new Dallas Fed report provides the latest evidence of how the slowdown in U.S. oil production growth is rippling through the shale patch.

Driving the news: The latest energy data shows that job losses in Texas — the heart of the U.S. oil boom — are "deeper than initially estimated."

  • It shows that the state's "mining" sector — largely a proxy for the industry —  lost 8,100 jobs from December of 2018 to October of this year, a deeper decline than seen in prior Labor Department data.

Why it matters: It signals the effect of U.S. production growth cooling off compared to 2018's dramatic rise."

  • Support activities for mining (mostly oilfield services, the more cyclical component of oil and gas mining) has been following the rig count down in 2019," the Dallas Fed notes.

What they're saying: The latest episode of the Platts Capitol Crude podcast explores the industry's belt-tightening.

  • Antoine Halff, founder of the data analytics firm Kayrros, says that until relatively recently, “Shale was more like a tech startup in terms of the model. There was a lot of interest in the growth potential.” But now "the model has changed," he said.
  • “As recently as a couple of years ago, investors were rewarding production growth at any cost. Now production growth is not really a goal in itself, and budget discipline, profitability is much more important.”

The big picture: A weekend Wall Street Journal feature on the shale slowdown looks at the effects in several oil-producing areas of the country. The reporting shows "emptier hotels, choosier employers and less overtime for workers."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Esper catches White House off guard with opposition to military use, photo op

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a press briefing Wednesday that he does not currently support invoking the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil, in order to quell protests against racial injustice.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Tuesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

Updates: George Floyd protests continue for 9th day

Demonstrators march on Pennsylvania Avenue on June 3. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Wednesday, marking nine straight days of demonstrations.

The latest: As several major cities moved to lift curfews, NYPD officers "aggressively" dispersed large crowds in Brooklyn and Manhattan beyond New York City's 8 p.m. curfew, per the New York Times. The National Guard was stationed outside many protests Wednesday night, including in Hollywood and Atlanta.

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"