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Oil holds harsh lessons for those who forgo school: Wyoming workers are riding high now — but a bust could break the labor pool

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CASPER, Wyo. — These are boom times in the resource-rich Cowboy State, courtesy of an oil explosion whose ripples can be felt across the land.

Good-paying blue-collar jobs in the petroleum and natural gas fields are as plentiful as pickups here, and the unemployment rate — 4.6 percent in July — remains far below the 7.4 percent national average.

But critics worry that the prodigious oil output includes a potential byproduct. Despite such fast-dollar success, heavy reliance on a single…

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