This is a really misleading chart. Given how important your topic is, perhaps there’s a better opening graphic?
Both axes stop well short of zero; the one on the right goes from 195 to 177 (I presume thousands) but makes it look like the numbers have dropped by 90%; on the left, the numbers halve, which says more about the price of oil than anything else.
This chart makes it look like a 1:1 correlation of workers to rigs changed to a 1:8. It also conflates industry employees with rig employees, and the number of rigs with production or profitability or literally any better measure.
The data in the chart says that staffing went down by 10% in the past two years, which is interesting, but not the catastrophe implied. For all we know, this is the result of firing a bunch of managers. (Side note: Zero Hedge is an extremely alarmist site; it’s hard to take them seriously. Let’s presume the data are at least accurate.)
Roughnecks are romantic. I understand— heck, they even got their own world-saving movie. But roughneck work is incredibly dangerous; it used to have one of the highest per-worker injury rates, but that number has been steadily dropping in the last few years (e.g., 38% reduction in 2015, the one I could find numbers for.) Automating this work means a better quality of life for a lot of people. No one misses the 3 hours a day that laundry used to take.
Why not question why companies refuse to hire full-time workers, and why 95% of new jobs since 2005 have been part-time or ‘gig’ jobs?
These sorts of economic pressures are pernicious and pervasive. It’s not automation — it’s deregulation.
I suppose you could still find a way to work AI or automation into the title to garner hits.