Texas’ upstream oil and gas employment reached 176,300 in January, representing a month/month increase of 1,200 jobs and a 16,000-job gain year/year, the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) reported last week.

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“Our industry will experience continued growth in employment in oil and gas production this year to meet growing global demand for our product and to offset disruptions in global supply,” said TIPRO President Ed Longanecker.

TIPRO obtains its figures from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The statewide trade group had reported an upstream employment figure of 188,700 jobs for December, 7% higher than the above figure for January, but TIPRO pointed out the latest figure reflects updates BLS made to its CES estimates through an annual process called benchmarking.

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“As required by BLS’s policy, in February, CES estimates from the prior year are now benchmarked against unemployment tax records and adjustments made to ensure the most accurate time series possible,”  TIPRO said.

BLS economist Ryan Ansell told NGI the benchmarking process does not change CES’ methodology for estimating employment from month to month.

Instead, he said the “CES survey benchmark process is done each year to align employment estimates” from CES with the bureau’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). He said QCEW counts jobs covered by the unemployment insurance tax system.

“The benchmark process typically results in revised data back to the last annual benchmark for not seasonally adjusted data and back five years for seasonally adjusted data,” Ansell said. “So, this year’s benchmarking process resulted in revisions to not seasonally adjusted data from April 2020 forward, and seasonally adjusted data from January 2017 forward were subject to revision.”

He said that seasonally adjusting data “removes predictable seasonal patterns in data” such as holiday season retail hiring, “allowing users to analyze underlying employment trends without the influence of typical seasonal hiring and layoffs.”

How Many Texas Job Postings?

TIPRO said it counted 8,276 active unique job postings in January for the state’s oil and natural gas industry. It noted the figure includes 3,169 new job postings added in January.

“For every direct job, an additional 2.2 indirect jobs are created elsewhere in the economy, which means you don’t have to be employed by the oil and natural gas industry to benefit from the tremendous economic prosperity and opportunities the industry brings Texas,” said Texas Oil and Gas Association President Todd Staples.

With 2,555 unique job listings, support activities for oil and gas operations ranked highest in January among 14 industry job sectors that TIPRO tracks. Taking the second and third positions, respectively, were petroleum refineries (1,022) and crude petroleum extraction (787).

The top city for job postings in January was Houston, with 2,874 total unique listings, TIPRO said. Midland (940) was in second place, followed by Odessa (470).

TIPRO noted that Halliburton Co., with 481 listings, took the lead among companies in January. NOV Inc. (408) and Baker Hughes Co. (381) took the second and third slots, respectively.

The most popular oil and gas occupation in Texas for January, based on unique job postings, was heavy tractor-trailer truck driver, with 420 listings, TIPRO noted. Personal service managers (283) and computer occupations (210) were next in the monthly ranking.

“During this multi-year boom cycle, our industry will continue to offer high-paying jobs, while playing a pivotal role in providing energy security to our country and other democracies around the world,” said Longanecker.

The 1,200-job increase in Texas’ upstream oil and gas employment for January represents more than 4% of the state’s 29,000 total nonagricultural job gain for the month, based on figures released last week by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

TWC said Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 4.8% from December to January, adding that the state’s total employment figure for January was 13,084,400 jobs. 

The January total reflects a year/year gain of 687,500 jobs.

“The Lone Star State continues to set new records for Texans in employment, with January’s total surpassing the record set in December,” said TWC’s Bryan Daniel, chairman. “Texas has added nearly 700,000 jobs since January 2021 and, while we can’t predict the future, job activity and hiring efforts by Texas employers continues to grow.”