According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment in the US oil and gas industry fell from around 6% a year ago to less than 2% in December, the lowest level in a decade.
The bustle in the Permian, 1,500 miles from Silicon Valley, is palpable. According to Baker Hughes data, oil and gas producers deployed 350 drilling rigs in the region last week, up about a fifth from the same time last year. Other occupations have followed, such as truck drivers and mechanics, as well as hotel cleaners and construction workers.
“Fueled by a rapid rise in oil prices amid a better-than-expected demand recovery and the supply constraints brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. labor market seems poised to benefit and continue on a growth trajectory,” said Rystad analyst Sumit Yadav.
Oil and gas jobs in the United States are rebounding after the industry lost roughly 20% of its total workforce — nearly 200,000 jobs — when drilling ceased during the pandemic. Exxon Mobil and Chevron, for example, reported multibillion-dollar profits in the first quarter and remain committed to rewarding investors through stock buybacks and dividends. However, the war in Ukraine forced them and others to increase output as Russian oil was lost to the market. Due to this, the number of active rigs in the U.S. has increased quickly once more, rising by 58 percent to 261 from the same period last year.