(The Center Square) – Continued job growth in the Texas oil and natural gas industry has helped Texas lead the U.S. in job creation and break every job and employment category over the past two years, energy experts argue.
Texas upstream employment last month totaled 210,700, an increase of 1,700 jobs from revised August employment numbers, according to recently released data. The total brings the number of additional or recovered jobs to nearly 54,000 since COVID-era lockdowns in 2020.
Last month, Texas added 18,700 jobs since September 2022, a 9.7% increase. Since the COVID-low point of September 2020, the industry has added or recovered 53,700 Texas upstream jobs, averaging a growth of 1,492 jobs a month, the Texas Oil & Gas Association notes. Months with an increase in upstream oil and natural gas employment outnumbered months with a decrease by 31 to 5.
“Three years ago in September 2020, upstream oil and natural gas employment hit rock bottom because of COVID, but now due to ingenuity, innovation and commitment to energy security, this industry has generated nearly 54,000 upstream oil and gas jobs in Texas,” Texas Oil & Gas Association President Todd Staples said. “Not only have these high-paying jobs supported Texas families and communities, they’ve made Texas the undisputed energy leader and ushered in an energy renaissance that secures our allies abroad, provides domestic economic growth, and is making Texas cleaner, stronger and better.”
Oil and natural gas jobs pay among the highest wages in Texas with an average salary of roughly $115,000 in 2022. The upstream sector includes oil and natural gas extraction and some mining, and excludes other sectors like refining, petrochemicals, fuels wholesaling, oilfield equipment manufacturing, pipelines, and gas utilities, which support hundreds of thousands of additional jobs in Texas.
Job growth is directly tied to record levels of production primarily coming from the Permian Basin in west Texas. As The Center Square has previously reported, production of oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids (NGLs) reached new record highs again in September after surpassing 30- to 40-year record highs broken this summer. As of last month, Texas production accounted for 43.4% of all oil produced in the U.S. Texas’ natural gas production accounts for 27.5% of overall U.S. production.
TIPRO President Ed Longanecker notes that “Texas and the Permian continue to break production records while meeting rising energy demand for Americans and our allies abroad. We are proud to see that high production numbers from our state are also contributing to a growth in employment in the oil and natural gas industry. With geopolitical conflicts escalating overseas and related market volatility, our industry continues to play an outsized role in supplying energy amid growing demand, underscoring the critical importance of U.S. oil and gas production at home and abroad.”
He also points out that liquified natural gas exports from Texas and Louisiana “to our allies abroad have increased by 116 percent.”
“No other industry in the world is as consequential from an economic, energy and national security perspective,” Longanecker said. “Operators across the United States and Texas need supportive policies at all levels of government to continue meeting energy demand and maintaining strong employment numbers, not policies that reward regimes like Venezuela, providing them with revenues to stay in power while putting pressure on responsible American producers.”
Texas also has the most jobs available in the industry compared to other oil and natural gas producing states. There were 11,990 active unique jobs postings last month, compared to 3,376 unique job postings in California, 1,652 in Louisiana, 1,649 in Oklahoma and 1,218 in Pennsylvania.
Nationwide, there were 52,767 unique job postings last month in the industry, according to a TIPRO analysis.