Chesapeake Layoffs Will Likely Impact OKC, State Economy

Tuesday, September 29th 2015, 5:27 pm

Chesapeake Energy confirms 740 employees were laid off Tuesday. That's about 15 percent of their workforce including 562 employees here in Oklahoma City.

“It’s going to be very difficult for them, especially in this economy now coming out of an oil and gas employment situation and getting another job in the oil and gas sector is going to be very difficult,” said Steve Agee, the Meinders School of Business dean at Oklahoma City University. 

Agee spent decades in the energy industry. He points to oil prices that have fallen from over $100 a barrel to now $40 dollars with no indication of prices going back up anytime soon.

But Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday the state's economy is fine.

“We’re certainly going to be there to support the families that have been affected by the job layoffs, but the interesting part about Oklahoma’s economy is it’s still doing well,” Fallin said.   

Still, the cuts in Oklahoma City represent about a fifth of the Oklahoma City workforce, and Agee said the loss will negatively impact spending and sales tax receipts.  

“I think the 4th quarter will be a tough quarter for Oklahoma City and Oklahoma as a result of this,” Agee said.

Agee said he's personally been through seven severe downturns in the energy industry but it's always recovered.  

“We will recover from this, but it will take some time to recover, but we’ll just have to see how long of time  period that will be,” Agee said.