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December Employment Report: OFS Jobs Rise in December Despite Cooling U.S. Job Market

Employment in the U.S. oilfield services and equipment sector rose by an estimated 7,450 jobs in December, despite the slow hiring in overall U.S. jobs, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and analysis by the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Gains were made in oil and gas extraction, as well as machinery manufacturing.

The 1.1% growth in December comes as overall U.S. job growth underperformed against analyst’s expectations. 

After hitting a peak of more than 109,000 pandemic-related job losses in February 2021, the oilfield services and equipment sector has regained an estimated 62,289 jobs, according to BLS data. This brings the total pandemic employment losses to 47,172 jobs, resulting in $5.6 billion lost in annual wages. 

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

Energy Workforce & Technology Council CEO Leslie Beyer

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 grew 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. 

The Council is the national trade association for the energy technology and services sector representing 600,000 jobs in the technology-driven energy value chain. More than 450 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 energy technology and services sector, and estimated job gains in December 2021 compared to the same month in 2020, according to BLS data:

  1. Texas — 321,304, +21,924 jobs
  2. Louisiana  — 51,300, +3,757
  3. Oklahoma  — 50,177, +3,424
  4. Colorado  — 26,770, +1,827
  5. New Mexico  — 24,660, +1,683
  6. California  — 24,132, +1,647
  7. Pennsylvania  — 23,869, +1,629
  8. North Dakota  — 20,506, +1,399
  9. Wyoming  — 15,297, +1,044
  10. Ohio  — 10,945 +747
  11. Alaska  — 10,220, +697
  12. West Virginia  — 10,088, +688

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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