America’s Top Industry In Terms of Jobs Growth Driven by Oil and Gas’ Resurgence

Business research firm LimeLeads recently released a list of the top-10 American industries in terms of job growth since last August, and thanks to the recent resurgence of the oil and gas industry, “Support Activities for Mining” tops the charts by a long shot.

“Of all American industries, Support Activities for Mining experienced the fastest growth rate in the past year. This sector added 52,500 new jobs, bringing its total employment number to 307,000a whopping increase of 20.6%.”

The latter figure is driven by the fact that the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data (through July of this year) show more than 30,000 of the net 52,500 jobs added in the “Support Activities for Mining” subsector are oil and natural gas support workers, a subset of the larger mining and logging industry.

The “oil and natural gas support workers” subsector includes occupations such as derrick operators, roustabouts and service unit operators, whose duties include taking core samples, making geological observations at prospective sites, excavating slush pits and cellars, and such oil and gas operations as spudding in, drilling in, re-drilling, directional drilling and well surveying.

Driven by oil and gas activity, LimeLeads found “Support Activities for Mining” growth rate was more than 13 times the national average over the past 12 months. By comparison, overall national jobs growth was 1.45 percent from August 2016 to August 2017.

This growth has no doubt been spurred by the fact that there are 430 more rigs in operation right now in the U.S. compared to this time last year, as commodity prices have rebounded moderately from the recent price slump and companies have become far more efficient in a lower price environment.

Not only has shale’s resurgence created thousands of jobs in the oil and gas support industry — they are good paying jobs, to boot. According to the latest BLS data, rotary drill operators have a mean annual wage of $55,590, while service unit operators make an average of $51,220 and derrick operators make $50,770 on average. And of course, increased oil and gas development has led to a resurgence of employment for drilling contractors and extraction companies (which aren’t included in BLS’s “Support Activities for Mining” category) while also creating jobs for numerous other mining-related occupations, which cumulatively pay an annual mean wage of $58,200.

Further, the mining industry is just one industry in which oil and gas development is spurring job growth. A 2016 study by researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE) found that for every two jobs directly created by fracking, at least one more is created in the manufacturing sector.

All told, the oil and natural gas industry supports around 10 million jobs nationwide, according to a recent American Petroleum Institute report. So forecasts of all-time record oil and natural gas production in the near future should bode well for the type of continued job growth highlighted in this LimeLeads report.



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