Texas’ upstream oil and gas employment rose to 181,900, representing increases of 5,100 jobs month/month and 20,700 positions year/year, the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) reported last week.

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“Rising global energy demand and strains on oil and natural gas supply exacerbated by geopolitical conflicts necessitate…increased domestic production,” said President Ed Longanecker.

February’s month/month upstream job growth is more than four times that of the 1,200 jobs Texas added from December to January. The Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) called the monthly gain “the highest spike in over a decade and the second highest jump in at least 32 years,” trailing only the 5,600-job gain in June 2011.

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“News of this historic job growth in Texas’ upstream sector is encouraging for all Americans, because Texas continues to lead the way in meeting our energy needs, fortifying our national security, and assuring continued environmental progress,” said TXOGA’s Todd Staples, president.

TIPRO, which reviews upstream jobs data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics report, said Texas’ oil and gas services workforce expanded by 18,800 jobs year/year. The state’s oil and gas extraction headcount grew by 1,900 during the period, the trade group added.

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TIPRO observed 9,985 active unique job postings across Texas’ natural gas and oil industry in February, a 20% increase from January. 

Based on its classification of Texas’ oil and gas industry across 14 specific sectors, TIPRO said support activities ranked highest in February with 2,712 unique job postings. Crude petroleum extraction, with 1,239 listings, and petroleum refineries, with 905, claimed the second and third spots, respectively.

With 3,319 postings, Houston ranked highest among Texas cities for unique oil and gas job listings in February. Next in line were the Permian Basin hubs Midland (1,048) and neighboring Odessa (541).

For February, TIPRO noted that Baker Hughes Co., with 524 listings, was the top company based on oil and gas job postings in Texas. National Oilwell Varco, Inc. (450) and Halliburton Co. (422) were second and third, respectively.

With 413 listings, heavy tractor-trailer truck drivers took first place among Texas’ posted occupations in February, TIPRO said. The second most common occupational group was maintenance and repair workers (284), followed by software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers (262).

“Though the U.S. energy sector is not immune to supply chain challenges and workforce shortages presented by both Covid-19 and the unfolding conflict in Eastern Europe, Texas oil and natural gas operators stand ready to supply growing energy demand here and around the world,” said Longanecker.

Successfully meeting present and future demand calls for encouraging “long-term investment in domestic production,” he added.

In addition to “taking immediate action” on all U.S. liquefied natural gas export facility and gas pipeline applications, promoting domestic output would require “ending the moratorium on new leases on federal lands and putting a stop to the political rhetoric against our industry, including the inaccurate and irresponsible notion that the oil and natural gas sector is taking advantage of the global energy crisis to increase profits,” said Longanecker.

Texas’ upstream workforce has added 24,900 jobs overall since hitting a low point in September 2020 and has expanded 15 of the past 17 months, said TXOGA.

“A year ago, many people were questioning the future of oil and natural gas and, today, people are questioning if they have a future without it,” said Staples. “Our nation has an opportunity to reshape American energy policy that recognizes oil and natural gas as an asset rather than a liability.”

Overall, Texas added 77,800 nonagricultural jobs in February and saw its unemployment rate drop one percentage point month/month to 4.7%, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The latest TWC data show 13,184,100 jobs in the state – a year/year gain of 832,200 positions from February 2021.

“February marks the fourth consecutive month of record-setting employment levels in Texas,” said TWC’s Bryan Daniel, chairman. “This continued growth highlights the strength of our Texas economy and signals significant opportunities for Texans in the Lone Star State.”