jobsLocal retailers and restaurants are beginning to see an increase of job-seekers as the oil industry continues to shed jobs across the Permian Basin, according to the Midland (Texas) Reporter-Telegram.

It is estimated that oil field-related layoffs have affected a few thousand jobs in the region, according to predictions made by the Midland-Odessa regional economic index. Many of these workers are flocking to other industries to keep up with Midland's high cost of living.

In recent years, retailers have been forced to increase their base-pay wages in order to compete with demand created by high-paying oil-industry jobs. Now, major retailers are seeing a sharp increase in the number of job applicants, many of whom are coming straight from the oil fields.

The slowdown has benefited Midland’s service industry sector as the increasing unemployment rate creates a better employment pool.

So far, the increase in the number of job-seekers has not yet impacted the above-average hourly wages major service and retail chains are paying. None of the businesses have decreased their hourly wages, and the decision to draw down these wages usually depends on various economic indicators to be analyzed by corporate executives.

Midland Chamber of Commerce President Bobby Burns told the newspaper he doesn’t expect wages to drop unless the current economic situation continues for more than a year.

These job vacancies are also expected to slightly mitigate the impact of the city’s unemployment rate, which was the lowest in the nation in December.