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Consumer bankruptcy up for gas, oil and coal workers

There are a number of reasons why people in Maryland fall into financial troubles. Some are based on poor decision-making and irresponsible spending habits, while others are simply unavoidable. An example is found in recent statistics that show that workers in the gas, oil and coal industries are seeking consumer bankruptcy protection in increasing numbers.

Fossil fuel work is something of a cyclical thing. These types of jobs are also clustered in certain geographical regions, where the natural resources are available to be mined or otherwise accessed. This work has never been an incredibly stable employment path. Over time, technological advancements in the extraction and refinement of these resources creates new jobs, while others are eliminated. That said, many American families have survived by working in this volatile industry.

Recent statistics show that bankruptcy is on the rise for workers who are employed in the energy sector. In one state, counties where gas drilling is conducted saw a rise in bankruptcies between 8 and 17 percent, while a nearby county that does not have fossil fuel work actually experienced a 27 percent decline in bankruptcy filings over the same period of time. Making matters worse, many workers within the industry are highly trained to perform a very specific job. Those skills, while they may be extremely desirable when times are booming, do not easily translate into other types of work.

Many people in Maryland and elsewhere support a move away from a dependence on fossil fuels, and a turn toward greener options. Greener energy sources will inevitable produce new types of employment options, and it is possible that some of those who are out of work in oil, gas and coal can gain the training to take on some of those new roles. However, in order to make that leap, many workers will have to seek consumer bankruptcy protection that will allow them to move forward on an altered career path.

Source: triblive.com, "Bankruptcies, foreclosures up in areas where gas, coal employees lost jobs", David Conti and Cheris Fleisher, June 18, 2016

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