Over the course of 2016, Cotemar, the Mexican petroleum services giant, was forced to lay off nearly a quarter of its workforce. To the 2,300 people that lost their jobs, 2016 was a very tough year. Cotemar deeply regretted having to cut so many jobs, but the general trend of the Mexican oil sector and its dominant actor, Pemex, left Cotemar with no choice but to go through with the layoffs or risk insolvency.
Despite so many losing their jobs, Cotemar anticipates things picking up considerably in 2017, and those laid off employees will be the first ones to get rehired. Cotemar, more than other companies, is, at its core, a service provider. And that means it can only be as good as its employees. In that sense, Cotemar is its employees in a crucial and meaningful way.
As boom turns to bust, tough times for Campeche
Cotemar is headquartered in Ciudad del Carmen, in the beautiful state of Campeche. Despite having a thriving tourist sector, Campeche is hugely reliant on the oil industry. In fact, up to 80% of all economic activity in the state is driven by the crude extraction business. Up until 2004, the thriving Mexican petro-economy never showed signs of slowing. Oil states, like Campeche, were high flying, with nearly everyone prospering from the windfall. But when the downturn started coming in the mid-2000s, many were left unprepared. Families with sole breadwinners who had worked in high paying oil jobs, many times earning high-end first world wages, were caught off guard when the cuts started coming. Many families hadn’t saved sufficiently and were blinded by the first-world standard of living they had enjoyed, forgetting that Mexico doesn’t have the same social safety nets as other rich, first-world countries. Left without a means to survive, many of these families were forced to send family north to illegally enter the United States. Others were tempted by the high earnings of organized crime.
But Cotemar sees an end to these layoffs. With the influx of new capital to Mexico’s oil industry, Cotemar believes Mexico is on the cusp of its next boom. And the residents of Campeche will see an era of prosperity unlike any that has come before.