Texas’ upstream oil and gas employment grew to 188,700 in December, representing increases of 3,000 jobs month/month and 27,800 positions year/year, the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) reported last week.

Texas jobs chart

“Oil and natural gas employment continues to rebound, providing quality, high-paying jobs to Texans throughout the state, and we expect that trend to continue,” said President Ed Longanecker.

The Lone Star State’s upstream employment has now risen for eight months straight, said TIPRO, which tabulates job figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics report. According to the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA), that equates to an average monthly gain of 2,538 new jobs.

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TIPRO noted that the state’s oil and gas services headcount has grown by 26,500 jobs year/year while the oil and gas extraction total is up 1,300 jobs for the period.

December’s 3,000-job increase marks a 25% month/month improvement from the upstream employment growth, TIPRO reported for November. It also eclipses gains for October and September.

“These employment opportunities also span across a spectrum of occupations, from laborers and roustabouts to software developers and electrical engineers,” said Longanecker.

Where Is Demand The Greatest?

TIPRO said it continued to see strong job posting data in December for the state’s upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors. The trade association noted that it tracked 8,484 active unique oil and gas postings for the month, including 2,612 new job postings.

The organization, which further defines the state’s oil and gas industry within the bounds of 14 specific sectors, said support activities ranked highest in December with 2,144 unique job postings. Claiming the second and third positions were crude petroleum extraction (1,506 postings) and petroleum refineries (874).

Houston had the most number of unique oil and gas job postings in December with 3,041 listings, said TIPRO. Midland, the heart of the Permian Basin, and Dallas claimed the next two spots on the list with 939 and 531 postings, respectively.

In its ranking of the top companies by unique job postings, TIPRO said NOV Inc. took the lead with 477 listings, followed by Baker Hughes Co. (468) and Halliburton Co. (407). 

The top posted oil and gas occupations in Texas for December were heavy tractor-trailer truck drivers (334 listings), personal service managers (303), and computer occupations (230), noted TIPRO.

“We believe increasing global demand will outpace production as economic conditions improve, and oil inventories could hit their lowest level in over two decades this summer, likely driving commodity prices higher and accelerating exploration and production activity in the state, if the market demands it,” said Longanecker.

Since bottoming out in September 2020, Texas’ upstream workforce has added 31,200 jobs, stated TXOGA.

“Texas is poised for continued economic growth as upstream job gains continue to climb,” said TXOGA President Todd Staples.

The state’s strong labor market performance extends beyond the oil and gas industry, with one member of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) observing the state ended 2021 “with some fireworks” in terms of its overall monthly labor market statistics.

TWC’s Aaron Demerson, the Commissioner Representing Employers, said seasonally adjusted unemployment was 5% for December – down 0.2 percentage points month/month.

“Texas added 50,000 total nonagricultural jobs over the month, making gains in 19 of the last 20 months,” said Demerson. “For the month, the state reached another record employment level with 13,059,600 jobs and Texas has added a total of 694,400 positions since December 2020.”