Employment in the U.S. oilfield services (OFS) and equipment sector rose in October for the second consecutive month, after sustaining massive losses of more than 90,000 jobs earlier this year because of Covid-19, the Petroleum Equipment & Services Association (PESA) said Monday.

ofs jobs

Despite the recent uptick in jobs, the Houston-based trade association cautioned that the industry’s potential recovery is still murky because of rising Covid-19 cases.

“While the worst of the cutbacks appear to be behind the industry, the outlook remains uncertain because a resurgence in Covid-19 cases could suppress demand and derail economic recovery,” PESA said.

OFS employment increased by 6,430 jobs in October as U.S. oil and gas production started rising, according to a PESA analysis of preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The sector gained 2,202 jobs in September but lost 1,187 jobs in August.

PESA, in consultation with researchers from the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, estimated that domestic OFS jobs dropped 12.2% from 757,516 in February to 665,214 in October. The April decline of 58,738 jobs was the largest one-month employment loss in the sector since at least 2013, PESA said.

October OFS jobs totaled 665,214, a 13.2% year-on-year decline representing annual wages of about $12.7 billion, PESA said.

Job losses were largest among companies that provide support services for oil and gas extraction, with that portion cutting 77,552 jobs during the pandemic, or 83% of the Covid-19-related cuts in the entire OFS sector, PESA said.

Last week the Texas Workforce Commission said the state’s oil and gas industry’s sector added 700 jobs in September, the first uptick since February.

Total upstream employment in the state was estimated at the end of September at 170,500 jobs, according to the Texas Oil & Gas Association.