Job Cuts Hit Fort Stockton

FORT STOCKTON - In an economy that's gone sour, Sandridge Energy is handing out pink slips.

"I would say they probably cut their labor force from about half, and probably gone from about 2,000 to 1,100 (employees)," said Doug May, Fort Stockton Economic Development Director.

The dramatic decrease in oil rigs are to blame. "We know they've gone from 32 rigs down
to 7," said May.

The loss of jobs has also taken a toll on Fort Stockton's economy.

"Right now they're probably running 60% capacity. We're seeing the same things with our hotels and motels. We were running 110% now we're running 60%. It effects us across the board," expressed May.

As for the workers who were laid off, they're now searching for solutions and new employment.

"We've had an influx of people. This month alone we've had about 1500 people coming in to our office," said Juanita Castro of Workforce Solutions in Fort Stockton. 

Workforce Solutions says a surprisng amount of people are in desperate need for a job.
"Walk ins have increased up to 75 a day," said Castro.

With the new Sandridge Century Plant project in the works, those who were recently laid off will be given a second chance.

"What we're trying to do is get the guys who are losing their jobs in the drilling field, into the contruction business," explained May.

That alone is expected to bring in more jobs in the near future.

"We know there will be at least 500 jobs available once the plant is under construction," said May.

May says he is confident Fort Stockton will overcome the bump on the road.

"I was born and raised here. This isn't my first time to be on this ride. We do anticipate short term loss, but I think long term we'll be fine," said May.