Texas’ oil and gas industry has made steps towards recovery in the past year, as rigs and drilling permits have risen, but the industry still employs fewer people than it did a year ago, according to analysis released Tuesday by the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, an industry trade group.
Texas employment in oil and gas is still down 10 percent compared to January of last year, and down more than 32 percent from the employment peak in December 2014. Last month, an average of 206,100 Texans were employed by the oil and gas industry, compared to 306,020 in December 2014. The numbers are based on an analysis of reports from Texas Workforce Commission.
But Karr Ingham, an economist who compiled the analysis for the Alliance of Energy Producers, did find signs of improvement. The average rig count in January increased more than 10 percent over last year, and drilling permits were up nearly 90 percent year over year.
“The expansion is in its infancy and 2017 will very likely be a year of growth and recovery in the Texas upstream oil and gas economy,” Ingham said in a statement. “But at some point, absent another surge in the price of crude oil, price levels and oilfield service costs will conspire to put a bit of a lid on activity growth.”