26% Decline in US Oil, Gas Jobs

26% Decline in US Oil, Gas Jobs
26% Decline in US Oil, Gas Jobs

US oil and gas producers have cut 142,000 jobs as of May 2016 since its peak employment levels in October 2014 of 538,000, according to a US Energy Information Administration press release on Friday—a 26% drop over that period.

The slump seems to mirror, though not as drastically, the oil and gas rig count, which stood at 404 rigs in May 2016—down a staggering 77% from the 1,800 rigs in action in fall 2014, Oil Price reported.

To put the employment figures into perspective, the average decrease in employment over the 20-month span from October 2014 to May 2016 is 7,100 per month—a figure that dwarfs the jobs cut in the oil and gas sector during the 2008-9 recession, which was 51,000 for a 13-month period, or an average of 3,923 per month.

Whereas US oil rig count and jobs are seemingly tied together and followed similarly bleak paths, crude oil production has not followed the same sharp downward trajectory, mainly due to advances in drilling technology.

It suggests that neither the rigs nor the jobs are needed to sustain current production levels, which are not too far off from the 2014 levels.

It also seems that no major company is immune to the persistent downfall. In May, CNN posted a top 10 list of 2016 “job-killing” companies, and not surprisingly, five were in the oil and gas industry.

CNN’s list included chart topper National Oilwell Varco, who cut 17,850 jobs; Schlumberger with 12,500; Halliburton with 10,200; Chevron with 7,500 and Weatherford International bringing up the rear in 10th place with 6,000.

Beyond the list, some in the oil and gas industry have had 2015 cuts that far exceed the 2016 totals. For example, Baker Hughes has cut 3,000 jobs in second quarter and dismissed 2,000 employees in first quarter 2016, after already cutting 18,000 sometime in 2015—for a total of 23,000 jobs lost.