Oil Prices Continue to Rise at Historic Levels

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Oil prices continue to rise at historic levels, after hitting a low point during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. In good news for apartment markets with energy-dependent economies, West Texas Intermediate crude oil was trading for over $78 per barrel as of Oct 7, according to the most recent data from U.S. Energy Information Administration. More recent days show a continuation of that trend on the market. These latest figures are some of the highest prices the commodity has seen since October 2014, when crude oil was trading for over $80 per barrel. Recent growth is also quite the turnaround from the decline seen just over one year ago, when crude oil prices fell into negative territory for the first time in history, as air travel halted in the wake of the global pandemic. Fluctuations in oil prices tend to affect apartment performances in markets like Houston, Midland/Odessa, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, where the energy sector plays an outsized role in the local economies. Midland/Odessa remains the nation’s least recovered job market, with an employment count that remains 15.1% behind pre-pandemic levels. The job markets in Houston and Tulsa are recovering about in line with the national average (about 4% away from full recovery), while Oklahoma City’s employment base is 3.5% away from February 2020 levels.