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Upstream Texas Oil & Natural Gas Employment Surges in May

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Newly-released data from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), subject to customary data revisions in the coming months, shows that upstream oil and natural gas employment in the state surged by 6,900 jobs in May. Image for illustration purposes
Newly-released data from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), subject to customary data revisions in the coming months, shows that upstream oil and natural gas employment in the state surged by 6,900 jobs in May. Image for illustration purposes

Texas Border Business

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AUSTIN, Texas – Newly-released data from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), subject to customary data revisions in the coming months, shows that upstream oil and natural gas employment in the state surged by 6,900 jobs in May, the highest single-month reported job growth in the 33 years of data available on TWC’s website. The addition of these jobs in May brings the total upstream oil and natural gas job count in Texas above 200,000 for the first time in over three years. Single month-to-month data points typically reflect job market variations that even out over longer periods, such as 3 to 6 months.   

“Texas remains a powerhouse of production and all sectors of our economy benefit from robust activity,” said Todd Staples, President of the Texas Oil & Gas Association. “These numbers reported for May are the highest in decades and push upstream employment numbers above the 200,000 mark for the first time since 2020. Despite a slowdown in rig count and concerns about the global economy, the world remains dependent on the tremendous resources produced every day by dedicated men and women in the oil patch.”

Since the COVID-low point of September of 2020, industry has added 49,000 Texas upstream jobs. At 206,000 upstream jobs, compared to the same month in the prior year, May 2023 jobs were up by 22,700, or 12.4%, over May of 2022. Months with an increase in upstream oil and natural gas employment have outnumbered months with a decrease by 28 to 4. Oil and natural gas jobs pay among the highest wages in Texas with employers in oil and natural gas paying an average salary of approximately $115,000 in 2022.

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The upstream sector involves oil and natural gas extraction and excludes other industry sectors such as refining, petrochemicals, fuels wholesaling, oilfield equipment manufacturing, pipelines, and gas utilities, which support hundreds of thousands of additional jobs in Texas. The employment shown also includes “Support Activities for Mining,” which is mostly oil and gas-related but also includes some small amount of other types of mining.

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