Labor Department says only 6,000 jobs are back after 60,000 layoffs hit industry starting in 2014

From the Associated Press / Texarkana Gazette

HOUSTON—Skilled workers in Texas are still looking for jobs as U.S. employment in the oil and gas industry continues to lag behind rising oil prices.

Job seekers hoping for an oil market recovery will likely have to continue waiting before companies increase hiring, the Houston Chronicle reported. The country’s oil and gas extraction industry has recovered fewer than 6,000 of the nearly 60,000 jobs lost in the 2014 oil bust, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Oil extraction companies shed another 2,000 jobs in Houston in March compared to a year earlier, the agency said.

Scientists, engineers and knowledge-based professions not seeing a job rebound

Oil field workers are finding jobs easily in the booming shale plays of West Texas, but scientists, engineers and other knowledge-based professions are finding more trouble.

Thousands of job seekers attended the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this month to network, hand out resumes and meet with oil companies.

“There’s a perception of recovery, but there’s really no recovery at this point,” said Ramesh Anand, president of American Personnel Resources in Houston.

Wary of another price crash, companies employ data analysis, robotics, AI, rather than boost hiring

Oil companies are hesitant to increase hiring due to concern that crude prices could quickly drop again, according to analysts. Companies are instead using robotics, data analysis, artificial intelligence and other technology to employ fewer workers.

Anand said he’s seen geologists give up on the industry, switching to financial adviser careers or pursuing master’s degrees in business.

“There’s a perception of recovery, but there’s really no recovery at this point,” he said. “It hurts me to see exceptionally qualified PhDs who were talking to me two years ago still meet me today looking for a job.”


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