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Texas oil patch ‘bloodbath’ is over as jobs and rigs return

Employment in oil and gas explortion has increased for 10 straight months.
Employment in oil and gas explortion has increased for 10 straight months. Odessa Reporter-Telegram

Hiring in Texas oil and gas fields is rising sharply as the industry steadily recovers from its most recent downturn.

The number of workers exploring for oil and gas in Texas hit more than 222,000 in September, nearly 31,000 more than a year ago, according to the Texas Petroleum Index, a measure of oil and gas drilling activity. It marked the 10th straight month that employment has improved, the report said.

“After a two-year oil bloodbath where prices dropped 80 percent, rig count was down 75 percent, drilling permits were down 70 percent and 300,000 plus jobs were lost, this is a much brighter day,” said Karr Ingham, an Amarillo-based economist who compiles the report for the Texas Alliance of Energy producers.

“It is a very solid recovery at this point,” Ingham said. “We’re adding jobs back and steadily counting.”

In late 2014 at the peak of the oil boom, the upstream workforce numbered more than 300,000, and then bottomed out in the third quarter of 2016, Ingham said. While there is always reason for concern about crude oil prices, Ingham said he expects the recovery to continue through the end of the year.

Crude oil prices dropped $1.06 a barrel on Tuesday to close at $55.70.

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

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