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Quick Hits

October 26, 1986|DONALD WOUTAT

The diversity of the Southern California economy shows up in diversity of occupation as well. The state Employment Development Department tracks 357 industries and some 2,000 different occupations ranging from Able Seamen to Yeast Pushers. What follows are brief looks at the employment outlook for other job areas that are key to the Southland's economy. ENERGY

The energy industry has been knocked for a loop by the steepest and quickest drop in oil prices in modern times.

An estimated 130,000 professional and blue-collar jobs have been lost since January in the oil industry, most of them in the oil patch of Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana but upwards of 10,000 in California, as well. The plummeting price of crude oil has taken its toll on the natural gas and alternative-fuels industries as well.

The job and salary outlook for both veteran energy workers and those just entering the job market can only be described as bleak.

A California oil exploration company says it once needed a headhunter to find a qualified geologist, but today an ad in the local newspaper brings hundreds of excellent job candidates streaming through the door--most willing to work for half the going rate of five years ago.

And the demand for new graduates is so bleak that Stanford University felt compelled to publicize the fact earlier this year that oil companies were withdrawing "permanent" job offers to several undergraduates in petroleum engineering because of severe cutbacks in budgets.

On the other hand, most energy economists say it is only a matter of time before oil prices begin to climb again. When that happens, the global industry will crank back up again to exploit the brighter economic picture--and could face severe shortages of skilled workers as early as 1990.

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