The hires and fires of Houston's energy workforce

Job cuts in the E&P and services sector of the energy business are discouraging, but this past year hasn’t just been job reductions, according to the December issue of the Greater Houston Partnership’s monthly economic outlook report.
Employment in the 10-county Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area fell 3 percent, or by 78,200 jobs, from October 2008 to October 2009, according to Texas Workforce Commission data.
That’s worse than the statewide loss of 2.9 percent, the 2 percent drop in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, San Antonio’s 0.7 percent job loss and and Austin-Round Rock’s 0.4 percent.
But data for the “mining and logging” category, which is the oil and gas business in Houston, shows mixed results:

“Oil and gas extraction,” which includes many of the exploration and production majors engaged in multi-year programs abroad, has continued to add jobs, up 2,300 over the year.
“Support activities” for mining, which in Houston is dominated by oilfield service companies, is more susceptible to short-term shifts in demand, and has shed 4,200 jobs.
In the aggregate, these two industries have contracted 1.8 percent over the past 12 months.