Overall U.S. unemployment rate down to 4.7%

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its February employment report today, outlining the state of employment in the U.S. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 in February, decreasing the unemployment rate to 4.7%, from 4.8% in January.

U.S. Oil and Gas Employment Highest Since May 2016

Source: BLS

In the oil and gas extraction sector the BLS reported that employment increased by about 1%. According to the BLM, 178,700 people were employed in the oil and gas industry in February, up from 176,900 in January. This is the highest employment in the sector since May last year.

Employment in the oil and gas industry peaked in October 2014, at an estimated 200,800. This was the highest level seen since the previous major industry downturn, in 1986. The industry downturn meant that employment decreased steadily until July 2016, when it flattened out at about 178,000. Employment has been mostly flat since then, with little significant change.

U.S. Oil and Gas Employment Highest Since May 2016

Data: BLS, Graph: EnerCom

While companies have begun to ramp up activity in the past few months as commodity prices improved, this has not yet translated to significantly improved employment numbers in the sector. This increased activity should become visible in employment data in the next few months. The Permian basin has seen especially large amounts of activity in recent months, as many companies buy in or ramp up operations.


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