Midland, Texas, one of the country's many oil boom towns, saw it population rise and unemployment rate drop over the past few years as the fracking boom brought workers in from around the country.
Inevitably, housing became short in supply as apartments filled and hotels and motels hung out their modern day equivalents of "No vacancy" signs.
So the oil companies moved into residential neighborhoods by leasing homes in which to house their workers. The city code enforcement office was probably flooded with complaints from long time residents seeking ways to rid their neighborhoods of these transient workers. And the police probably got their share of complaints about noisy shift workers letting off steam with tail gate parties in the driveways.
But the party's over. Now that the price of oil is half what it was at the peak and oil and gas exploration is declining, the workers are no longer needed. So the boom town man camps are drying up.
It's not just Midland. Bloomberg.com says it's happening throughout the oil producing areas. See The Oil Industry’s ‘Man Camps’ Are Dying. Excerpt:
America’s oilfield “man camps”—as the industry calls them—are turning into ghost towns as drillers cut back the free housing, food, and air travel once used to lure shale boom workers. The mini-settlements that sprang up throughout drilling regions in Texas, North Dakota, and Colorado are fading away as energy companies look to slash as much as $114 billion in spending this year, says a Cowen Group survey, and lay off tens of thousands of employees.
Post Script: The oil industry goes through periodic booms and busts. The cycle has repeated numerous times, and it will be repeated again. You can bank on it. In the next up cycle someone will inevitably say, "It's different this time." Don't you believe them.