After years of exponential growth due to oil drilling, communities in North Dakota are now dealing with fewer people and empty homes and apartments, reports Jack Healy of The New York Times, since oil prices have dropped to $30 a barrel.
With fewer wells pumping oil, laid-off workers are looking for new jobs or have left town all together. Hotels that were once booked solid for months are about half occupied. Some of the new luxury apartments built to handle the surge of arrivals are dark.
“We’re overbuilt,” said Marcus Jundt, a businessman who followed the boom to Williston, N.D. and owns several restaurants here, including the Williston Brewing Company. “We have too many hotel rooms, too many apartments, too many restaurants. People are going to go broke. People are going to lose their jobs. It’s going to be painful.”