Worst of oil slump is behind us, Dallas Fed says

Guy Cummings (left), Carl Merworth (center, rear) and Desiderio Castillo (right) attach a 90-foot section of pipe onto the end of an active drill pipe on the drilling floor of Robinson Drilling rig #4 on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, in Midland County. James Durbin/Reporter-Telegram
Workers attach a 90-foot section of pipe onto the end of an active drill pipe on the drilling floor of a Robinson drilling rig earlier this year in Midland County, Texas. (James Durbin/Reporter-Telegram)

The oil industry has been saying for months that the worst of the oil bust is over.

Now the Fed is too.

Tuesday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said that jobs in the state increased 3.2 percent in July and 2.6 percent in August — outpacing the nation and improving “significantly” in recent months.

“We’ve been encouraged by this because it suggests that the worst of the energy crisis may be over,” said Fed economist Pia Orrenius.

Orrenius noted that the jobs uptick was across sectors, from services to good-producers. But, “most remarkably,” she said, oil and gas employment in August also increased. And while by just a tick — 1.2 percent — it was a phenomenon unseen since 2014.

The news adds to comments from analysts and oil executives, a bump in rig counts, and employment gains in Houston.

The Fed predicts 1.2 percent job growth statewide in 2016, but warns, with oil prices hovering under $50 a barrel, there are plenty of risks to that forecast.

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