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Employment Report: Sector Shows Modest Gains in April, But Well Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

American oilfield services and equipment sector employment increased by an estimated 1,352 jobs in April, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and analysis by the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. 

Routine BLS revisions show stronger employment figures in February than previously reported and strong gains of more than 18,000 jobs in March. According to BLS data, the sector has added more than 19,000 jobs in 2021 but employment in the sector is 10.5% below pre-pandemic levels. 

The monthly Oilfield Services and Equipment Employment Report, compiled and published by the Council, estimates a peak of 102,000 pandemic-related job losses. Since then, the sector has restored approximately 28,000 positions, bringing total pandemic employment cuts to 74,000 jobs and more than $8.4 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. 

OFS sector employment has grown 2.9% in 2021 as companies completed drilling projects as vaccinations continue and demand rises. 

The Council is the national trade association for the technology and services sector of the oil and gas industry representing more than 600,000 jobs in the technology-driven energy value chain. More than 600 member companies are involved in energy equipment manufacturing, drilling, well completions, well services, pressure pumping, renewable energy technology and servicing, geothermal development, and more. 

The innovative men and women who comprise this sector are leaders in developing and deploying innovative technologies on a global scale that increase efficiency, improve environmental performance, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Below are the top states for employment in the technology and services sector of the oil and gas industry, according to BLS data:

  1. Texas — 314,100
  2. Louisiana  — 53,800
  3. Oklahoma  — 49,000
  4. Colorado  — 26,200
  5. New Mexico  — 24,100
  6. California  — 23,600
  7. Pennsylvania  — 23,300
  8. North Dakota  — 20,000
  9. Wyoming  — 14,900
  10. Ohio  — 10,700
  11. Alaska  — 10,000
  12. West Virginia  — 9,900

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 OFS 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.

For additional information or questions about the report, contact lead researcher and Council Director of Communications and Research Kevin Broom.

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