Texas Upstream Employment Continuing to Rise, with Job Count Up Sharply


Recent data compiled from the Texas Workforce Commission suggests that the state’s upstream oil and natural gas employment expanded by 1,600 jobs in May month/month, expanding a recovery that began last fall.

Since the low point in employment in September, months with job gains have outnumbered the decline months 6-to-2, the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA) noted. 

Compared with May 2020, jobs last month remained down 4,100, or 2%. However, the job count was nearly 8% higher, or up by 12,500, than at the low point last September. 

Total upstream employment in Texas was estimated at 170,000 jobs in May.

“The positive numbers are welcomed news, yet a great deal of caution exists as the world readjusts to increased demand levels,” said TXOGA President Todd Staples. “The industry continues to play an enormous role in safely delivering the products and power Americans need every day and takes this responsibility seriously.”

The upstream sector includes oil and natural gas extraction and excludes sectors that include refining, petrochemicals, fuels wholesaling, oilfield equipment manufacturing, pipelines and natural gas utilities. Those sectors support “hundreds of thousands of additional jobs in Texas,” the trade association noted.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, aka Dallas Fed, earlier in June reported that oil and natural gas executives working in northern Louisiana, southern New Mexico and across the state of Texas were optimistic that commodity prices will continue to climb this year, along with activity.

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According to the 2Q2021 survey of oilfield services and exploration and production (E&P) executives based in the Eleventh District, the aggregate employment index posted a second consecutive positive reading, edging up to 9.9 from 1Q2021’s 8.4.

“Employment growth continues to be driven primarily by oilfield services firms,” Dallas Fed researchers said. “The employment index was 25.5 for services firms versus 2.0 for E&P firms.” The aggregate employee hours index improved to 24.0 from 22.8, while the index for aggregate wages and benefits increased to 20.6 from 14.8.


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