An interesting survey popped up on MSN.com that showed the cities with the five best economies in the United States.
Of the five, four of them have something in common: oil.
The energy-related economies that made the top five are: Midland and Odessa, Texas, Fargo, N.D., and Sioux Falls, S.D. Midland and Odessa ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. The third-best local economy belongs to Pascagoula, Miss.
This is an interesting development in that Midland and Odessa experienced tremendous booms in the 1970s when the price of oil “skyrocketed” to what then was considered a huge price for a barrel of oil: about $40 and change. Midland built skyscrapers downtown, creating a skyline in a city of about 80,000 that would become the envy of city planners in much-larger communities. Those gleaming, tall buildings would go dark in the 1980s as the price of oil collapsed and companies declared bankruptcy.
I was living in Beaumont at the time and watched petrochemical plants lay off thousands of employees as the demand for their products fell precipitously.
The cycle is repeating itself now in the Permian Basin and way up yonder in the Dakotas, where communities are being remade into something no one recognizes as drilling contractors pour into the region to explore for shale oil buried in what’s believed to be the largest petroleum reserve on the planet.
Let’s wish them luck during these boom times. They might need plenty of it if the oil economy collapses yet again — which could happen.
Those who’ve lived through some of these cycles before understand full well about the nature of that particular industry.
A word of caution: Start planning for some serious economic diversification.