Indeed finds volume of oil related job postings up triple digits in Wyoming, Alaska and Oklahoma

Oil jobs are back. A report released yesterday by international job search engine Indeed is pointing to what looks like a real uptick for available jobs in portions of the oil patch.

Since 2014, the U.S. labor market strengthened considerably while oil and gas extraction employment remained a weak spot in the U.S. economy, Indeed noted. And while there has only been modest improvement in oil prices, Indeed job postings data are showing signs of new life in the oil labor market, the company said.

The regional portion of the firm’s analysis is focused on five states states—Wyoming, Oklahoma, Alaska, Texas and North Dakota. These are the five states which have the highest volume of oil and gas extraction jobs as a share of their total labor market, according to 2015 annual Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Earnings and Wages data.

Signs of Life for Oil Jobs?  Indeed Study says ‘Yes’

According to the Indeed analysis, job losses in the oil and gas industry continued nearly unabated until early 2016 when oil-related postings briefly stabilized. Since hitting that bottom, oil-related jobs as a share of all postings have notched small but significant growth, climbing by 52.1%, according to the job posting service.

“It would be a stretch to classify this as an enormous improvement,” Indeed’s Daniel Culbertson said, “and the uptick is likely not yet sustained enough to designate it a rebound. However, it is encouraging to see oil producers willing to invest in hiring once again after such a long layoff.” Culbertson, author of the Indeed report, is an economic analyst with the Indeed Hiring Lab, and former economist with Moody’s Analytics.

Regional postings in the 5 oil states studied

Indeed said it examined job postings activity in the five states in which oil-related jobs have the largest impact on the local labor market, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, and found that while the number of available openings declined by a similar amount across 2014 and 2015, the subsequent rebound has not been even.

Signs of Life for Oil Jobs?  Indeed Study says ‘Yes’

Signs of Life for Oil Jobs?  Indeed Study says ‘Yes’

The relative volume of oil-related job postings in Wyoming, Alaska and Oklahoma have all bounced back significantly, more than doubling the level reached at their lowest point. North Dakota, while not as robust, did bounce back 86%.  Meanwhile, job postings in Texas have remained remarkably flat.

Behavior of oil industry job searchers

Job seekers were a little slower than oil producers to respond to rapid changes in the oil markets. Although prices collapsed in mid-2014, at which point oil producers immediately began posting far fewer jobs, job searches actually climbed throughout most of 2014. This is likely due to the higher number of job seekers recently displaced from oil jobs continuing to search in the industry, Indeed said in its report.

Signs of Life for Oil Jobs?  Indeed Study says ‘Yes’

Since the spring of 2016 job searches using oil-related terms on Indeed have slowly edged higher. This could suggest that idle oil workers or those that may have found work in other fields after the price collapse have seen encouraging signs in the oil labor market and are seeking to return to the industry.

Signs of Life for Oil Jobs?  Indeed Study says ‘Yes’

Interest in North Dakota took the biggest hit, with the oil job search share falling to about 30% of previous levels. Search levels in Wyoming, Oklahoma and Texas took less of a hit, notching declines in the 50-60% range. Job seekers looking for oil-related work in the far northwest were the most resilient, as job searches in Alaska fell by just under 40%.

Search volumes have bounced back

Signs of Life for Oil Jobs?  Indeed Study says ‘Yes’

Searches have rebounded the most in Wyoming and the least in Texas. These are the same states which registered the greatest and weakest rebound in oil jobs, respectively. That job seeker activity is matching that of postings is further evidence that job seekers are responsive to changes in the labor market and searching for jobs in segments that have new opportunities.


For its analysis of the oil labor market, Indeed said it focused on job titles in Indeed job postings and job searches conducted by job seekers on Indeed that contain oil-related keywords such as oil, landman, petroleum and roustabout. All trends in oil-related jobs and searches are shown as a rate of per 10,000 postings or searches, in order to make the trend over time more accessible. A seven day moving average is also applied to our job postings and search data to smooth out weekly trends, the company said.

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