A Gusher of Gloom in the Oil Patch

Falling prices bring new trouble to a beleaguered U.S. industry

The steep decline in world oil prices is good news for U.S. consumers, who can celebrate by turning up their thermostat a touch or taking a trip in their Winnebago. Falling energy costs are also invigorating the stock market, where the Dow Jones industrial average rose 41.06 points last week to close at a record 1570.99. But for the once flush U.S. petroleum industry, no gushers of champagne have flowed since 1981, when the value of oil peaked. And last month's 25% drop in crude prices is bringing even more failures and layoffs to the Energy Belt. Last week one of...

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