Falling oil prices are to blame for roughly 195,000 lost jobs in the U.S. over the last two years, according to a newly released report.
CNN noted that the report, from Chicago outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, suggested that nearly half of those cuts occurred in 2016 alone — long after crude prices began tumbling.
Many of this year's cuts coincided with prices near 13-year lows early this year; crude prices climbed somewhat in subsequent months but remain far below their mid-2014 peaks.
That could mean that more layoffs could be forthcoming. The report noted that job cuts jumped sharply last month as prices slid once again.
Prices began tumbling in late 2014 amid a global oversupply of oil — a result of growing North American production, sluggish global economies and increased drilling by OPEC.
Lower prices hit more expensive shale drilling operations in the U.S. particularly hard, and the impact then expanded from the oil and gas sector into related manufacturing industries.
Energy jobs have been a blight on an otherwise strong period of job growth in the U.S.; the Labor Department reported a better-than-expected gain of 255,000 jobs last month despite the energy cuts.
Energy industry observers, meanwhile, warned that the long slump in oil prices also led to steep cuts in capital expenditures — conditions that could raise the likelihood of a price spike if global oil demand begins to approach the supply.