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Bracing for Bust in Texas

A pump jack works beside the site of new home construction, in Midland, Texas. The West Texas town is in the middle of an oil boom with thousands of workers in need of housing.

Bracing for Bust in West Texas

In a faded West Texas town dotted with vacant buildings and potholed

streets is a sparkling storefront window with a curious display: Behind

the glass glint rows of diamond-studded Rolex watches, awaiting buyers

whose pockets are packed with oil money. The watches reflect the wealth

that has drawn money and men like a magnet to run-down communities that

are fortunate enough to stand atop huge petroleum reserves. Thanks to

hydraulic fracturing, oil towns where the boom days were a distant

memory are getting another chance.