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U.S. oil and gas industry continues to lose jobs

ALICE, Texas -- The price of oil rose for a change Friday, closing up nine percent to over $32 a barrel.

Gas dropped another penny to $1.85 -- great for drivers. But the American oil patch is sliding from boom to bust.

Denise Walker Robinson
CBS News

Machines that once pumped oil from the ground near Alice, Texas sit idle, lined up along a highway. It's a painful sight for Denise Walker Robinson.

"I think that's what keeps me going, is my faith," Robinson told CBS News.

Her company services oil rigs, but the trucks have nowhere to go. She once had 200 employees; now there are only 48.

"That means that I'm struggling to keep those 48 people working," Robinson said.

And if oil prices don't stabilize this year?

"Well, we may all be done," she said.

Cheaper oil means it's less profitable to drill here and as projects dry up, the town has suffered. Sales tax revenues plummeted more than 60 percent in one year. Unemployment has nearly doubled to nine percent.

Jesus Trevino lost his job moving oil equipment six months ago, and went to a food pantry Friday for help.

"Can't even afford to pay my bills," Trevino told CBS News. "You go from making a good living, you know, and all of the sudden, it's all gone."

Volunteer Phyllis Seidel says the pantry's case load grew by 700 people last year. She's concerned the food bank won't be able to cope with demand.

At this time last year, there were almost 700 rigs drilling in Texas. More than half of those are now out of production.