The oil sector is rebounding, but where are the jobs?

Feb 20, 2017

Credit CGP Grey / Flickr Creative Commons

Oil prices appear to be rebounding from their slump, leading to optimism in High Plains oil fields.

But, as The New York Times reports, there’s one important element of the recovery that still hasn’t come through: jobs.

In the last three years, the U.S. energy sector has lost approximately 30 percent of its oil workers, a total of 163,000 jobs. Texas alone lost almost 100,000 oil jobs.

But many of those jobs are being replaced by automation. Computers now control drill bits that were once directed by hand, and many oil workers are finding new careers in wind and solar.

Despite the lost jobs, U.S. production has increased rapidly since September, and oil field jobs have traditionally been some of the best-paying blue collar jobs, exactly the kind President Trump vowed to restore during his campaign. It remains to be seen whether the new administration can bring back the jobs to keep pace with the economic recovery.