The U.S. energy technology and services sector added more than 17,000 positions from August through October, the Houston-based Energy Workforce & Technology Council reported last week.

Oilfield Services Jobs

More than one-third of the new jobs in the three-month period — an estimated 6,051 positions — were added in October, marking the eighth straight monthly increase, the Council said.

“We’re pleased to see the increase in energy jobs, but many more are needed,” CEO Leslie Beyer told NGI’s Shale Daily. “Our highly-skilled workforce is ready and willing to continue the critical work of contributing to our country’s energy security, especially as winter draws near and global demand increases.”

The findings stem from a review of preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the Council and researchers at the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs. 

The Council, which has represented the oilfield services (OFS) industry for decades, noted that its 450-plus member companies are engaged in energy equipment manufacturing, drilling, well completions, well services, pressure pumping, renewable energy technology and servicing, geothermal development and other areas.

According to the latest report, the energy services and technology sector has gained nearly 55,000 jobs since March. In February, the sector’s workforce hit a Covid-19 pandemic low of 597,067 jobs based on BLS data, the Council said.

For the year to date, energy services and technology employment has typically grown 0.99% each month, the Council noted. It pointed out that “companies have maintained focus on reducing debt, repaying investors and investing in research and development.” Moreover, elevated Covid-19 cases tied to the Delta variant “have increased uncertainty for demand and production forecasts.”

Texas Still Top Employer

In its review of year/year state-level employment from October 2020 to last month, the Council estimated that Texas, with the most exploration and production activity, also gained the largest number of jobs at 19,340. That brought the state’s latest sector job count to 316,444.

The Council’s year/year figure was lower than the 22,000 job services sector increase from September 2020 to September that was reported by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners.

With a gain of 3,314 jobs since October 2020, the Council said Louisiana took the No. 2 spot with 54,223 total sector jobs as of last month. Oklahoma captured the No. 3 position, adding an estimated 3,020 jobs to hit a total count of 49,418. 

Other states with energy production also saw an uptick in jobs year/year. Colorado added 1,611 jobs to 26,365; New Mexico added 1,484 to 24,287; California was up 1,453 to 23,767; and Pennsylvania notched 1,437 more jobs to 23,508.

In addition, North Dakota posted 1,234 additional jobs to 20,196 while Wyoming added 921 to 15,066 and Ohio increased jobs by 659 to 10,780. Alaska added 615 jobs from a year ago to end October at 10,065, and West Virginia’s 607 additional jobs gave it 9,936 employed as of October. 

According to the Council, major trends across the services sector include deploying all-electric hydraulic fracturing fleets, confronting stretched supply chains and inflationary pressures and greater use of multi-well pad drilling.