Here Comes the Glut


Marcus Benson tells the story of how he left Philadelphia penniless, found high-paying work in North Dakota’s oil boom, and now might be returning to Philadelphia penniless again:

“I went from doing odd jobs for $8 an hour to $25 an hour. I thought that was crazy,” Benson said. It wasn’t long before he was earning $30 an hour.

Of course, back then oil brought in over $100 a barrel. This week oil plummeted below $50, squeezing high-cost oil producers like shale companies.

The good times for Benson, 28, ended on New Year’s Eve, when he lost his new job at Ames Water Solutions, which serves the fracking industry.

“They said the main reason was the price of oil dropping,” said Benson, who filed for unemployment this week.

Now he’s worried he won’t find another job before getting kicked out of company-owned housing.

This is just the human face to yesterday’s “Venezuela, USA” post.