Texas added 700 oil and gas extraction jobs in September, the first uptick since the coronavirus pandemic broke out nationally.
Oil exploration, drilling and production companies employed 170,500 workers in Texas in September, according to the Texas Oil and Gas Association, which analyzed employment data from the Texas Workforce Commission.
“At a time when some question the future of oil and natural gas, this small but positive job growth is an indicator of better days ahead,” TXOGA President Todd Staples said in a statement. “This industry is indispensable to our daily lives and will be a valuable part of the energy mix for future generations.”
The job growth report is a sign that the oil and gas industry is starting to recover from the worst oil bust in decades caused by the global pandemic. Oil and gas companies have laid off 47,300 drilling-related workers in Texas, including 12,500 in the Houston region, between March and September, according to the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.
While it appears the job losses stemming from the pandemic are slowing this fall, more layoffs could be coming as oil and gas companies consolidate and cut redundant positions. Chevron earlier this month acquired Houston-based Noble Energy, and is cutting redundant corporate positions and reducing spending on consultants. The merger is expected to save $300 million in operating costs by 2021.
Oil drilling and production companies are starting to hire workers again as crude prices have climbed to around $40 a barrel. The U.S. rig count has risen for six straight weeks to 287, up from a record low 244 rigs in August. The rig count is a a leading indicator of the nation’s oil and gas production.
Texas saw the most rigs come online over the past week, up two from last week to 125 rigs. The state is home to most of the Permian Basin, the nation’s most productive shale play, and hosts about half of the country’s oil and gas rigs.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.