TEXAS – Barbers are earning as much as $180,000 a year cutting hair in West Texas, one of the hottest job markets in the country, The Wall Street Journal reports.
An oil boom that has taken hold over the Permian Basin is leading to so much economic activity and expansion, the area can barely keep pace. In Pecos, Texas, Barbers charging a minimum of $40 for a haircut are busy for hours without stopping.
Schools in the regions in and around Midland, Texas, are struggling to hire teachers because housing prices have risen so high. Some districts have taken to building their own housing on school property to attract educators to move to the area, WSJ reports.
The thousands of oil field workers bring additional foot traffic to the area’s relatively sparse towns and cities. Many restaurants are no longer frequented by local residents. Oil field workers line up outside before the diners open. Often, restaurants close for the day because they ran out of food, not because closing to hit.
High-paying oil field jobs are drawing the employees out of other businesses, leaving them without the labor needed to serve such a large base of customers.
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The explosive growth in the Permian Basin oil field is symbolic of the boom happening across the American oil industry that is outpacing experts’ predictions. In a January report, the International Energy Agency predicted that U.S. oil production would rise by 1.3 million barrels a day in 2019, more than double its previous expectation.
“By the middle of the year, U.S. crude output will probably be more than the capacity of either Saudi Arabia or Russia,” the report said, meaning the U.S. will likely produce enough oil in six months to surpass what Saudi Arabia or Russia could produce in a year.
The U.S. passed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s largest oil producer in September.