Economist predicts slowdown in Oklahoma’s oil industry

Researcher believes it will impact other areas

An Oklahoma economist who studies the state’s energy industry predicts a significant slowdown in the coming year as a result of falling crude oil prices.

Dr. Russell Evans released his regular Energy Index report that shows the first energy industry decline in eight months. The index measures the state’s oil and gas industry and is a joint project of researchers at Oklahoma City University and industry trade groups.

Evans predicts that a slowdown in oilfield activity in the coming months will extend to other areas of the economy toward the second half of the year.

Evans notes that crude oil prices have decreased 38 percent over the past three months. However, U.S. crude added 0.4 percent to $52.59 a barrel in New York Thursday. It’s now up 23.7 percent since hitting an 18-month low on Dec. 24.