The U.S. oilfield services (OFS) and equipment sector added an estimated 7,450 jobs in December, according to the Houston-based Energy Workforce & Technology Council.

OFS employment

“As oil demand has pushed higher, it’s heartening to see continued job growth in the sector,” said Council CEO, Leslie Buyer. “The sector has recovered more than half of the jobs lost to the pandemic, and we expect continued growth in 2022.”

The 1.1% jobs gain for December represents a month/month rebound. For November, the Council reported a 0.1%, or 815-job, decline in OFS employment. The 17,000-plus OFS employment increase reported for August through October dwarfed the November dip, however.

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The Council said it observed growth in oil and gas extraction, as well as machinery manufacturing in December. Last month’s OFS employment grew “as overall U.S. job growth underperformed against” what analysts had predicted. 

Partnering with the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs, the Council determines domestic OFS employment figures based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Reviewing OFS employment changes during the past two years, the Council said the number of pandemic-related job losses peaked at more than 109,000 last February. Since then, an estimated 62,289 of those jobs have returned, the organization added.

“This brings the total pandemic employment losses to 47,172 jobs, resulting in $5.6 billion lost in annual wages,” the Council stated.

OFS employment increased at an average monthly rate of 0.6% in 2021 “as companies have maintained focus on reducing debt, repaying investors and investing in research and development.”

Last month, Texas boasted 321,304 energy technology and services sector jobs, reflecting a year/year gain of 21,924 jobs, the Council stated. 

Louisiana claimed the No.2 spot in domestic OFS employment at 51,300 jobs, or a 3,757 increase year/year. With 50,177 jobs, representing a 3,424 year/year gain, Oklahoma took third place.

The year/year uptick in OFS employment extended to other energy-producing states as well. Colorado picked up 1,827 jobs to 26,770; New Mexico added 1,683 to 24,660; California rose by 1,647 to 24,132; and Pennsylvania gained 1,629 at 23,869.

Other top states in the OFS employment ranking at the end of 2021 include North Dakota, which posted 1,399 more jobs year/year to 20,506; Wyoming, up 1,044 to 15,297; Ohio, up 747 to 10,945; Alaska, up 697 to 10,220; and West Virginia, up 688 to 10,088.