How bad has it gotten for the American natural resources industries? According to new data from the Commerce Department, the U.S. mining industry—a sector that includes oil drillers—lost more money in 2015 than it had made in the previous eight years.
Mining corporations with assets of $50 million or more recorded a collective $227 billion in after-tax losses last year. That loss essentially wipes out all the profits the industry had made since 2007.
In addition to the dropoff in oil revenues, mining revenues have also been falling sharply, down 38 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier. All told, since 2001, U.S. mining corporations had been profitable in every year but one prior to last year.