I recently took three weeks of classes in LA, and had a good chance to visit with others about jobs in the oil patch. It sounded like a number of companies had finished laying off employees, and some were slowly starting to rehire as necessary.
After the classes, I went back to knock on doors of companies that I had applied with last fall. It was nice to be able to go into the office and ask for the HR person by name, with their business card in hand. It went a long ways. And it was also helpful to be able to say I had experience - albeit only 6 months - in the GOM. I was laid off at the end of April when my previous employer started stacking their boats because of the downturn.
The bottom line is that I found work with a company that I had previously applied to. They had a captain who had to take emergency family leave, and they are planning on tranferring me to another boat once he returns.
So there is some normal turn over, and I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time!