Oil Industry Layoffs Distress California Families

As a result of declining U.S. oil prices, companies continue to cut jobs, challenging families across the nation to overcome the loss of employment and income.

According to Forbes 31,000 jobs have been slashed in North America by such companies as Shell, Pemex, Halliburton and Suncor. Houston based oil industry giant Baker Hughes alone plans to let go 7,000 employees.

Bakersfield, the oil capital of California, has been hit hard by plunging oil prices. Thousands of jobs have been lost, forcing former employees to scramble for employment alternatives. According to a 23 ABC investigation of the Western States Petroleum Association, the Kern County Clerk, the Employer Training Resource and the California Unemployment Agency, there are no concrete numbers as to how many precisely have been laid off locally.

A former oil consultant, Nat Gholz, told ABC that when oil prices dropped consultants were the first to go. He was laid off two months ago and works in other jobs to make ends meet. Nat use to get up early and begin his day doing analysis and consulting on a drilling rig. Now he wakes up and makes his children breakfast and gets them ready for their school day.

“That is one of the upsides, to be able to be home and be a family man and see how the rest of the world lives, working 9 to 5,” the father of four girls remarked.

Nat is meeting his new found financial challenges by working two restaurant jobs. Although he is working more hours, his onetime six-figure job has been cut in half.

Not a stranger to the ups and downs of working in the oil industry, Gholz recounted that things were worse during the 2009 recession, when he lost not only his job, but his house too. The difficult time occurred while he and his wife were taking care of two young daughters and a new born. Things eventually picked up and he went back to work as an oil consultant.

Gholz is hoping things turn around for the better once again so that he can go back to oil consulting, the job that he loves doing the most.


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