Texas oil jobs still falling

Employment in Texas’ oil and gas industry “remains in a free fall” according to the Texas Petro Index, with more than 32,000 jobs lost this year.
Employment in the sector peaked at 240,000 in December but has dropped to about 207,700 as of July, based on Texas Workforce Commission data, says Karr Ingham, an economist who created the index for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.

“Producers and oilfield service contractors are shedding jobs to shrink the industry’s work force to the level required to operate 300 to 350 rigs in Texas,” Ingham said in a release. “That adjustment is not complete, so it appears that thousands more Texans will be sent packing before this cycle hits bottom.”

The index, which is based on a number of upstream data points, is off nearly 25 percent from its peak of 285.4 in September and October 2008. The July indicators that are pulling it down include:

• The Baker Hughes count of active drilling rigs in Texas averaged 342, down from a peak of 958 rigs at the end of August 2008 (that’s up from the 2nd week of June when it was 320 rigs).
?• Texas crude prices averaged $60.91 per barrel, up from a low $35.87/bbl in February. The peak was $130.91 in July 2008.
• Natural gas prices in Texas averaged $3.62 per thousand cubic feet (/Mcf), compared to $12.33/Mcf in July 2008.