People in Williston, North Dakota aren't just hunkered down because of the winter weather — they're feeling the slow down low oil prices have created for local businesses. As the city at the heart of North Dakota's oil boom, Williston's been hit by an economic downturn that defies basic economics. Though many rigs in North Dakota that drill into the Bakken basin have been taken offline, prices still haven't stabilized because big producers in Saudi Arabia refuse to scale back production, and supply continues to outpace demand.
Now contractors and suppliers for oil producers here are also feeling the pinch. The Associated Press reported that as of Tuesday, North Dakota has 154 rigs, down 30 from mid-December, and those who manufacture parts and supplies for drilling companies have been cutting down working hours and telling employees to prepare for hard times to come.
Yet many are still optimistic. Some small companies are diversifying their services and branching into new markets to offset oil-related losses. And because production often slows down in the winter — when the cold weather makes it more difficult to build new pipelines and oil infrastructure — there is hope that prices may turn around in spring. Only time will tell.
In this PBS NewsHour video, travel to North Dakota's oil towns and hear how many there are adjusting to a new reality.