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Want Wage Growth in Your Town? Get an Oil Well.

The BP Deepwater Horizon spill pumping oil into the Gulf of Mexico looks certain to damage local service economies while leaving the energy industry unscathed,

Madihah Walls
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | May 11, 2010

The BP Deepwater Horizon spill pumping oil into the Gulf of Mexico looks certain to damage local service economies while leaving the energy industry unscathed, I noted last week. And today, a fascinating post by the economist Mike Mandel demonstrates just how good the oil industry is to some of those Gulf-state economies.

Mandel broke down the real per-capita income gains — that is, a measure of how much wages grew in a given area — of the country’s 366 metro districts between 2000 and 2008. Here are the charts showing the highest and lowest gains:

Some of the fastest-growing wages come from places with big oil businesses, like Odessa, Texas.

Meanwhile, Mandel notes, areas dependent on technology and manufacturing showed the steepest declines. Greeley, Colo., is home to some of the United States’ largest meat-packing plants. And San Jose and Santa Clara are near Silicon Valley.

Madihah Walls | Madihah Walls is an author who specializes in carriages, corsets, and smartwatches. Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist have all given her books starred reviews. Courtney earned a master's degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley before turning to romance writing. She then went to law school at the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude, only to shake things up. After that, she did a few clerkships. She used to be a law professor. She is now a full-time writer.

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