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I used to live in Houston and I still have relatives, friends, and associates there. The general consensus is that the industry is rebounding; but because of efficiency gains and risk aversion due to the violence of the last downtown, there is little net hiring. Specifically, I have a friend that used to work at Aramaco in Saudi Arabia who was laid off about a year ago. He is in Houston and still looking for work. Other folks are in holding patterns.

This is actually one of the main reasons why I am bullish on Big Oil in the longer term. Both CAPEX and labor costs are being kept down even as production recovers, unlike the 2003-2013 period when rising oil prices were accompanied by significant CAPEX and labor costs inflation. Perhaps XOM's declaration of >15% ROIC on their CAPEX plans isn't so aggressive, after all.
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