October 2013: Economic Recoveries Index
The current recovery for oil and gas professionals stands alone. More U.S. energy jobs have been created in the four plus years since the end of the Great Recession than under the same recovery timelines in either 1991 or 2001.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. energy workforce has grown 41 percent since the end of the recession through July 2013. That’s 143,000 new jobs created and filled. Positions created like floorhands, electrical engineers, geologists, safety engineers and expertise like well control, supply chain and fracturing.
How does that compare to history? It’s off the charts. For the recovery that started in November 2001, about 34,000 new positions were created after four plus years which amounts to 14 percent growth in the oil and gas workforce. Even that performance looks pretty good compared the early nineties recovery, when the oil and gas workforce was still shrinking four years later having lost 64,600 positions.
The industry is still recovering from the recruiting dip, particularly in engineering where the competition amongst companies and between industries is fierce for certain disciplines. But, don’t believe it’s just engineers. The right personnel needs to be on rigs or performance suffers. In fact, almost 70 percent of the 143,000 new jobs created have gone to production employees, according to BLS data.
While all recoveries share some similar characteristics, they also can display unique attributes. Our current recovery most certainly does just that. Rapid advances in a myriad of technologies have made possible more potential sources for oil and gas than in any previous period. The need for those who want to work on complex problems and tackle the energy challenge has never been greater.