Oil and gas jobs soar to new milestone

The U.S. oil and gas industry added new jobs faster than the total private sector during the year that ended in June, jumping 2.6 percent over the previous year and pushing the industry’s roster past 1 million jobs nationwide, according to a new report.

During the first half of 2013, the industry netted 23,700 jobs, driven mostly by extraction, drilling and support sectors, according to the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association’s report released this week. Overall, the industry grew 2.4 percent in that six-month period.

Eight out of nine oil and gas sectors measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics expanded this year. Only jobs in the oil and gas field machinery and equipment sector have appeared sluggish so far in 2013, according to TIPRO.

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The Austin trade group credited the advent of horizontal drilling and advances in hydraulic fracturing with a surge in oil and gas production that has levitated payrolls in the industry. Unlocking new resource plays has pushed U.S. oil production to a 15-year high at 6.5 million barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Agency.

Oil and gas companies also climbed past the private sector in the 18 months before June, up 5.7 percent on a jump of activity in the industry’s support sector, which is typically ushered in by higher investment from U.S. exploration and production companies. Of the 54,900 workers added to oil and gas payrolls between January 2012 and June 2013, about half fell in the support sector.

The federal government hasn’t yet released state-by-state employment data, but last year, Texas — home to 55 percent of active rigs in the U.S. — soaked up a third of the oil and gas industry’s new employment, adding 43,000 workers to its roster of 388,000.


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