Economist Helps Diversify the Basin

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

The shifting economy is playing a key role in how West Texas cities are planning for the future. City leaders in the Basin are now working together deciding what direction they need to take.

The oilfield slowdown prompted the Economic Development offices in both Midland and Odessa to put their heads together. 

They've joined to hire an economist out of Amarillo to do some research looking for opportunities to diversify. The goal is to attract new businesses and industries into an area being hit with layoffs.

The first phase of this new research indicates that the oil price and value is down 56% within the last year.

The research details the Permian Basin Petroleum index and offers a snapshot of retail sales, auto, hotel, and airline industries. It calculates the amount of home permits, sales and value, plus it outlines current area salaries and the unemployment rate which local officials estimate at about five percent.

Gary Vest, with the Odessa Economic Development Office, tells NewsWest 9 they've done several smaller scale research like this before, but this new project will help combine all those different statistics into one picture giving officials an overall snapshot of both cities.