Jobs in oil and gas buck national employment trend

HOUSTON — While the January jobs report was a disappointing for the national economy, it brought good news about growth in oil and gas.

About 206,000 employees worked in the oil and gas extraction sector in January, about 1.8 percent more than in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationwide, total employment was relatively stagnant at a seasonally adjusted 137.5 million.

The employment story was positive across sectors of the energy industry. Manufacturing of petroleum and coal products had 112,700 employees on payrolls, a 1.6 percent increase from December. The chemicals sector grew by 1.2 percent to 796,100 people.

Growth in coal mining was modest comparatively, with employment increasing just 0.2 percent to about 80,400 in January.

The industry has been expanding rapidly in recent years, as the the United States has experienced a boom in oil and natural gas production. Since January 2013, jobs in oil and gas extraction have increased by 6.6 percent.