Texas braces for massive layoffs amid oil slump

MIDLAND, Texas -- In Texas oil country, lower oil prices have led to prayers at the Jack County Courthouse for families who depend on oil drilling to make a living.

The state is home to the Permian Basin, the nation's leading oil-producing region, where cheaper oil means lower profits, and fewer jobs.

bojorquezoil-layoffs-archive-763382frame2115.jpg
Alex Sexton
CBS News

Alex Sexton was recently laid off from a drilling company's accounting department.

"After a couple of days of wallowing in my own, you know, self-pity, I realized I'm not the only one and I'm not going to be the only one" said Sexton.

At this nearby employment center, the number of job-seekers has more than doubled in the last few weeks, says CEO Willie Taylor.

"I'm not going to say the boom has gone bust, but I say it's a slowdown in the area," Taylor told me.

It's estimated Texas could lose 140,000 direct and indirect energy jobs by midyear.

bojorquezoil-layoffs-archive-763382frame1606.jpg
CBS News

Sexton just found a new job outside the oil industry. She hopes it won't be impacted by the region's slowing economy for the sake of her son, Evan.

"I want him to live comfortably and not have to worry about anything and I don't want him to see me stressed," Sexton told me.

Just a few miles from Sexton's home rigs have been idled and a federal agency predicts the world's oil supplies will continue to grow, keeping prices low.