Oil and gas companies have received well deserved acclaim for improving efficiencies in the wake of the downturn, particularly in terms of per-rig output and breakeven costs. One metric that is often overlooked, however, is productivity per person.

The BLS reports 516,000 people worked in oil and gas extraction in October 2018. This figure includes both people directly involved in the business, such as petroleum engineers and geologists, and those involved in what the BLS classifies as “support activities,” including drillers and pumpers.

This represents a major jump from the 412,000 people employed at the beginning of 2017, though nearly all the rise has come from support workers, with direct oil and gas employees only slightly impro...


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