“Chesapeake held out for a really long time,” Hundreds jobless after Chesapeake layoffs

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Chesapeake Energy confirmed late Tuesday afternoon that 562 people were laid off at the Oklahoma City campus.

A letter from the CEO said commodity prices have been a challenge.

Records show that before today, around 3,200 people worked for Chesapeake energy. Today, that number was significantly lowered, as 15 percent of the Oklahoma City campus was laid off.

Sarah Terry-Cobo covers the local oil and gas industry in Oklahoma City for The Journal Record.

"So, we heard from Vicky Deering, who's OSU-OKC in the commerce department, that Chesapeake did file what they call a WARN notice. It's a worker adjustment and retraining notification act," Terry-Cobo said.

Chesapeake has not provided a comment about workers in other locations.

"I spoke with an analyst in Houston today, and he told me this is a result of commodity prices and as crude oil prices started to slide. Chesapeake held out for a really long time," Terry-Cobo said.

As for more layoffs in Chesapeake's future, many analysts said that, from other indicators, the company is still going strong.

"In part, because they look at a debt matrix. How much debt do you have compared to how much profits? Chesapeake is about 2.5 percent, which is the industry average," Terry-Cobo said.

As for employees without a job today, there may be a silver lining.

"The unemployment rate is low, and there could be an opportunity for these employees to get hired from other firms. When you are looking at the skills they have...IT jobs...those kinds of skills can be used in other industries outside of oil and gas," Terry-Cobo said.

Sources said employees were given generous severance packages.

A source with Chesapeake said the layoffs today were the only ones planned.