Oilfield services companies are booming amid a rush to tap North America’s newfound troves of crude oil and natural gas. The discoveries are pushing U.S. energy employment to its highest levels in two decades. Baker Hughes Inc. on Monday reported its income in North America doubled last quarter from a year-ago to $440 million. Also, Halliburton Co. said its second quarter North American profit more than doubled from a year earlier and Schlumberger Ltd. on Friday reported that its North American profit jumped six-fold to $673 million.
With these growing profits and a need to hire more workers, some energy companies are worrying that there may be a shortage of oil field workers. In all, there was a gain of 17,200 new oil field jobs recently. In May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 413,500 jobs in the oil and gas extraction and support businesses in positions ranging from roustabout to tax accountant. The oil and gas extraction business sector was one of the areas that added jobs in June.
It’s kind of ironic that with the U.S. unemployment rate hovering above 9.0%, the energy sector employment is coming alive after two solid decades of reducing employment. The growth started in 2004 when U.S. energy producers began extracting natural gas from shale-rock formations. Now with the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, a drilling frenzy had fed a flurry of hiring. Although somewhat curtailed by the recession of 2009, the energy sector has fully recovered and is now adding an average of 5,920 jobs a month this year through May. 07-26-2011. The Wall Street Journal.