Booming Texas towns in oil industry experience growing pains

According to freshly-released census data, two particular towns in Texas, Midland and Odessa, are experiencing tremendous oil booms. This involves recent discoveries in hydraulic fracturing (otherwise known as ‘fracking’) which, essentially, helped to spur oil drilling in places once deemed non-drillable altogether. It just so happens that both Midland and Odessa are settled on one of North America’s largest oil reserves, which would explain the oil industry booms they are currently experiencing. While Midland experienced a 4.6% growth in population between 2011 and 2012, Odessa’s job growth increased by 5.2% between those years.

However, not all is well and thriving in these of regions of Texas. Though there has been an incredible jump in population levels and personal income, compared to pre-oil booms, housing shortages in these areas have caused tremendous strains on new oil workers settling in (or attempting to). This shortage has spurred existing housing costs for both homeowners and renters to levels which are simply unmanageable. In fact, some residents have stated that the rent values could be comparable to large, urban areas (going from $600 monthly rents pre-oil boom and spiking to $1,100 post-oil boom).

These issues are easily applicable to the city of Odessa, located about 20 miles away from Midland. While there has been a spike in population, job growth, and personal income per capita, and although the area’s unemployment rate(s) is essentially at zero, very real housing problems exist for retaining and recruiting employees in the oil industry.