It seems pretty simple, right? Cheaper oil means lower gas prices, which means consumers can spend gas money on other stuff. A nice little economic stimulus. But Thomas Tunstall, senior research director at University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development, said it's not cut and dry.
"I got tired of hearing people say, ‘Yeah, oil prices are going down but consumer spending will make up the difference’ and I thought, I don’t think so,” he said.
David Goldwyn, president of Goldwyn Strategies, said consumers aren't driving that much more, anyway.
“And the amount they’re saving is a pretty modest impact on the economy,” he said.
Goldwyn said the damage to the oil industry is much greater than the benefits to consumers. Those hardest hit were the oil field service companies, like Halliburton.
“What happened when the price of oil dropped is the price that producers were willing to pay for their services dropped dramatically,” he said.
And that means cutting jobs and dropping wages.
Baker Hughes, another drilling services company which Halliburton is buying said this week it would be laying off 11 percent of its workforce – 7,000 people.
That hurts the whole economy.
“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VABEFORE YOU GO