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Texas Shed 28,300 Oil And Gas Jobs Since December

Oil workers struggle to find new jobs

The oil slump has claimed at least 28,300 oil and gas jobs in Texas since December as the industry continues to pare back amid the worst downturn in years, according to the latest estimates released by an industry group.

Oil and gas employment in the state set a record high in December with 305,000 on the payroll following a rapid hiring spree by energy companies rushing to extract oil and gas from shale plays across the state, according to data compiled by petroleum economist Karr Ingham for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.

But falling oil prices put an end to industry’s job expansion. The number of Texans on the industry payroll has fallen 7.7 percent to 281,600 in August, according to estimates based on Texas Workforce Commission data, which is not seasonally adjusted.

An index developed by Ingham to gauge the health of Texas’ oil industry continues to slump following the collapse in employment numbers, the price of oil, the rig count, drilling permits and well completions. The Texas Petro Index, which has measured job numbers, rig activity and production totals for nearly two decades, tumbled another 10.7 points in August to 235.4. That’s 24 percent lower than last year.

The continued slide in the monthly index, which has been designed to measure broader economic trends in the state’s oil and gas industry, underscores how the industry continues to feel the pain from weak oil prices with no recovery yet in sight, Ingham said in a statement.

Despite the plunging rig count and dwindling number of well completions, the state continues to produce more oil than it did a year ago, Ingham said. Although the rate of production growth has slowed, Texas in August unleashed 110.5 million barrels of crude onto the market, or 12.3 percent more than a year ago, placing the state on track to bust its 40-year-old production record this year, Ingham said.

“The Energy Information Administration has revised its production-estimation methodology and now says Texas production likely peaked in April,” Ingham said in a statement. “That may be right, but either way Texas production is still significantly higher this year compared to last, and that’s not likely going to change by year-end.”

The latest figures by the EIA show that Texas produced about 3.45 million barrels of crude and lease condensate per day in July, an increase of 7 percent from the same time last year.

The value of that oil has dropped significantly, however. With crude fetching an average of $39.67 a barrel in August, Texas-produced oil was worth $4.48 billion in August, or 52 percent less than last year, according to the Texas Petro Index.

Fuel Fix
Fuel Fix
Published on:
October 2, 2015
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