Lower prices at the pump may take a toll on Houston jobs

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HOUSTON, Texas -- Good news for Houston drivers, you can fill up a tank for less than two dollars a gallon.

"For the rest of the country, and for Europe, everywhere but Texas and North Dakota this is probably good news," explained Bill Gilmer, Director of the Institute For Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston.

But the drop in gas prices may just suck some of the energy out of Houston`s growth. Halliburton has already announced job cuts and Schlumberger says they expect to lower exploration spending.

Though the news isn`t all bad. "On the one hand we have well publicized drop in the price of oil, on the other side of Houston we built on what is already a collapse in the price of natural gas, an enormous construction boom that benefits the area. They are cancelling out each other to a certain extent," according to Gilmer.

So, the white-collar jobs we may be losing to low oil prices could be made up by blue-collar jobs as a result of low natural gas prices.

Unfortunately, some jobs Houston is losing have nothing to do with oil. Harris Health System announced the layoffs of 113 employees, on top of jobs that have already been vacated, bringing the number to over 260 jobs lost.

Suddenly, the city that came out of the recession smelling like roses, may see a few flowers wilting.