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August Jobs Report: Sector Employment Edges Up Slightly

Employment in the U.S. energy technology and services sector rose by an estimated 3,711 jobs in August, a sixth straight month of growth, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and analysis by the Energy Workforce & Technology Council (Council). 

The rate of growth slowed to 0.6%, reflecting sluggish employment growth across the nation’s economic sectors. The energy services and technology sector has added more than 42,000 jobs over the past six months after hitting a pandemic low of 597,067 jobs in February, according to BLS data.

The monthly Energy Technology & Services Employment Report, compiled and published by the Council, estimates a peak of more than 109,000 pandemic-related job losses. Since then, the sector has restored approximately 42,200 positions, bringing total pandemic employment losses to 67,200 jobs and $8.5 billion in annualized lost wages.

Using BLS data, the Council, in consultation with researchers from the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, found that reductions were heaviest in April 2020, when the sector shed 57,294 jobs — the largest one-month total since at least 2013. 

Sector employment has grown at an average monthly rate of 0.5% in 2021 as companies have maintained focus on reducing debt, repaying investors and investing in research and development instead of boosting production. In addition, spiking COVID-19 cases have increased uncertainty to demand and production forecasts. Employment in the sector is down 9.5% since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

Below are the top states for employment in the energy technology and services sector, and estimated job gains in August 2021 compared to the same month in 2020, according to BLS data:

  1. Texas — 314,000, +16,950 jobs
  2. Louisiana  — 53,800, +2,900 
  3. Oklahoma  — 49,000, +2,650
  4. Colorado  — 26,100, +1,410
  5. New Mexico  — 24,100, +1,300 
  6. California  — 53,500, +,1270
  7. Pennsylvania  — 23,300, +1,260
  8. North Dakota  — 20,000, +1,080
  9. Wyoming  — 14,950, +800
  10. Ohio  — 10,700, +580
  11. Alaska  — 9,990, +540
  12. West Virginia  — 9,860, +530

Energy technology and services sector employment is estimated by analyzing data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and covers the economic activities of energy technology and services companies, which include oil and gas extraction, construction and manufacturing. Total employment is estimated using the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, published by BLS, and jobs data reported by BLS monthly.

Note: BLS data is preliminary for the two most recent months and is subject to revision. The Council incorporates monthly totals according to BLS corrections, and updates the statistical model quarterly.

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