A staggering 107,000 jobs vanished from the US oil, gas and chemicals industry between March and August 2020, according to an analysis published this week by Deloitte. That's the fastest rate of layoffs in the industry's history -- and it doesn't even include the untold number of people on furlough or taking pay cuts.
The vast majority of those energy jobs are unlikely to return anytime soon.
Even if US oil prices stay at $45 a barrel until the end of 2021, 70% of the jobs lost during the pandemic in the oil, gas and chemicals industry may not come back by the end of next year, the Deloitte analysis found.
"Such large-scale layoffs are challenging the industry's reputation as a reliable employer," the Deloitte report said.
Part of the problem is that the fortunes of the notoriously boom-to-bust oil and gas industry have become even more closely tied to commodity prices than in the past.
A $1 change, up or down, in US oil prices can potentially impact 3,000 upstream and oilfield services jobs, compared with 1,500 jobs in the 1990s, Deloitte found. In other words, the link between jobs and prices is twice as powerful as it was then.
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