London — U.S. oil and gas employment has started to fall as the sector contracts in response to lower prices over the last year – and further job losses are likely in the next few months as the rate of well drilling declines further.
In 2017/18, the second shale-oil boom created almost 100,000 new high-paying jobs in oil and gas drilling as well as associated services such as site preparation, cementing, casing and pressure-pumping.
Employment gains in the oil and gas sector also helped support tens of thousands more jobs along the supply chain including trucking, accommodation, retail and leisure services.
The impact was felt intensively in some local areas – especially those overlaying the oil- and gas-rich Permian Basin in western Texas and eastern New Mexico.
Non-farm employment in the Midland metropolitan area at the heart of the Permian in Texas surged at an annual rate of 15% in the first nine months of 2018, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.
Non-farm jobs in the Odessa metro area, another Permian boom town, were up more than 10% in the first three quarters of 2018 compared with a year earlier (“Current employment statistics”, BLS, Oct. 4).
But the persistent slump in oil prices since the start of October 2018 has brought job creation to a halt and replaced it with a gradual but steady trickle of layoffs
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