Energy

Jobs Coming Back To Oilfields After Years Of Decline

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Oil jobs are coming back to the U.S. after three years of mass layoffs, according to new federal employment data.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the oil industry added 2,500 jobs so far this year, reversing a 27-month-long decline in oil employment. The industry shed 206,000 jobs after oil prices collapsed in summer 2014.

Additional hiring seems likely as U.S. hydraulic fracturing companies are now efficient enough to compete when oil prices are low, according to a new report by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fracking jobs have risen by 142 percent since May 2016.

Researchers estimate that a staggering 215,000 U.S. energy workers lost their jobs and 125 companies went bankrupt during the Obama administration due to strict regulations, slow permitting and low oil prices. Only 13 percent of those laid off were able to find work again in the oil and gas industry.

New oil and natural gas extraction methods using hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” already created an estimated 1.7 million jobs and will likely create a total of 3.5 million by 2035, but  low oil prices generally are likely suppressing potential job creation.

Oil is one of the few high industries in the country where job-seekers can earn six-figure salaries with less than a college education. Instead of a college degree, most oil field workers have advanced training and licenses. Companies are increasingly offering this training to attract and keep sufficient numbers of workers.

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