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U.S. States and Metros Hit the Hardest by the Drop in Oil Prices

oil prices

U.S. States and Metros Hit the Hardest by the Drop in Oil Prices

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent the world economy into turmoil as lockdowns around the world have caused economic activity to grind to a halt. The demand for oil has crashed in the wake of the growing pandemic, sending oil prices diving and even dipping below $0 per barrel. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. employs close to 130,000 people in the oil and gas extraction industry. Many of these workers now face uncertain employment.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from the last two decades shows that employment in the oil and gas sector tends to rise and fall with crude oil prices. Price drops in 2014 resulting from oil surpluses caused the oil and gas sector to shed roughly a third of its workforce. Today, the pandemic combined with a lack of storage capacity for excess oil have caused the price to fall sharply again—a trend that threatens thousands of jobs.

The concentration of oil and gas extraction workers varies widely by location. At the state level, Oklahoma and Wyoming have the highest concentrations of workers in oil and gas extraction at 7.7 and 6.7 times the national average respectively. Texas, with a relative concentration of 5.8 times the national average, boasts the largest number of total oil and gas workers of any state. Many states such as Hawaii, Maine, and Rhode Island don’t produce oil or natural gas and have no employees reported by the Census Bureau.

To find the metropolitan areas hit hardest by the drop in oil prices, researchers at Construction Coverage used data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the relative concentration of employment in the oil and gas extraction industry. Researchers also looked at the total number of oil and gas extraction workers, the median earnings for those workers, and cost of living. To improve relevance and accuracy, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

Here are the 25 major U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest concentrations of oil and gas workers:

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results for all major metros and U.S. states, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website: https://constructioncoverage.com/research/cities-hit-hardest-by-drop-in-oil-prices

Report republished with permission

small businesses

U.S. Metros With the Most Small Businesses Per Capita

Small businesses across the United States face dire circumstances following the COVID-19 outbreak. While each individual small business might seem inconsequential to the broader economy, in aggregate, these firms are critical to the country’s financial well-being.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees makeup approximately 95 percent of American business establishments and employ 40 percent of private sector workers. These 7.4 million small businesses (or 2.27 per 100 residents) also account for roughly a third of total private sector payroll.

Unfortunately, research shows that small businesses and their workers are particularly vulnerable during recessions and other periods of economic hardship. A recent survey conducted by the New York Fed found that even prior to the pandemic, 64 percent of small businesses faced financial challenges in the preceding 12 months. The same survey reported that a two-month loss of revenue would cause 86 percent of firms to take a serious financial action, such as using the owner’s personal savings, taking out a loan, or cutting staff salaries.

Moreover, small businesses in some industries have a larger economic impact than others. Among small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, those in accommodation, food services, and retail trade—coincidentally, the sectors hit hardest by COVID-19—employ the most workers. These industries, combined, account for more than 16 million employees and $362 billion in annual payroll.

Like the businesses themselves, small business employees are also more financially vulnerable than their large-firm counterparts. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that fewer small business employees have access to retirement benefits, healthcare benefits, paid sick leave, life insurance, or disability insurance. Troublingly, only half of employees in small businesses have health insurance through their company and only two-thirds have paid sick leave.

While small businesses are a critical component of the national economy, some parts of the country depend more on small businesses than others. To find the metropolitan areas with the most small businesses, researchers at Construction Coverage, a review website for workers’ compensation insurance and construction software, analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers ranked each location according to the number of small businesses per 100 residents. Researchers also included statistics on the total number of small businesses, the number of retail, accommodation, and food service businesses, and the share of workers who are self-employed. For the analysis, small businesses were defined as those employing fewer than 50 workers.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, locations were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size: large metros (1,000,000 residents or more), midsize metros (350,000-999,999 residents), and small metros (less than 350,000 residents).

Here are the large metropolitan areas with the most small businesses per capita:

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website: https://constructioncoverage.com/research/cities-with-the-most-small-businesses