Many people see the price of an oil of barrel drop below $40 and are thrilled at the lower gas and energy prices that follow. But these plummeting oil prices don’t have the same effect on everyone, especially people who live in areas where the job market is dominated by the oil and energy industries.
Since oil prices began falling 18 months ago, 12 metros have seen their annual average unemployment rates climb. The largest increase in unemployment occurred in Lafayette, La., as its unemployment rate climbed 1.3 percent from July 2014’s annual average of 5 percent and reached 6.3 percent in January. Frank’s International, an oil services country, has already laid off workers in Lafayette and now has plans for a third round of job cuts, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Other metros that have seen their unemployment rise are Houma-Thibodaux, La., Odessa, Texas, and Alexandria, La., all areas that rely heavily on energy for jobs.
As a whole, the U.S. labor market has enjoyed the drop in oil prices. In January 2016, 375 out of 387 metropolitan areas saw the unemployment rate fall or remain steady from the 12-month average ending in July 2014.