Do Texas Oil and gas job postings on the upswing mean good news for Albertans?

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After slugging it out through the worst oil bust in 30 years, those in the oil and gas industry finally have a reason to be optimistic: It would appear that Job postings are finally on the upswing.

Oil and gas companies stopped putting out “now hiring” signs in early 2014, but have started advertising more open positions since the summer, according to data compiled by the job search site Indeed.com.

Daniel Culbertson, an economist with Indeed indicated “While this is a significant improvement in the second half of 2016, we’re still very far from where we were when oil prices collapsed.”

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Anticipating the bust

It will come as little surprise to many Albertans that the major players seem to have anticipated the bust. Job postings in oil and gas peaked in early 2014, approx six months before oil prices hit their record highs of $107 per barrel. Then came the long slide.

Hitting bottom

“It took about six months for people to see the writing on the wall,”

The low point for oil prices appears to have been in January and February, when the benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude hit $26 per barrel.

It closed this past Wednesday at $51.04 per barrel.

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Drilling Rig Activity in Texas

Drilling rigs — a key measure of how how much activity is happening in the oil fields themselves — hit bottom in May and have been increasingly coming back online.

Last week, there were 624 working drilling rigs, according to service company Baker Hughes, a 55 percent increase.

Reaction by Oil and gas workers

Oil and gas workers have responded quickly to the increase in job postings, wasting no time in applying for jobs.

Unemployed oil workers, or those who may be working in other industries, have been watching for encouraging signs — rising oil prices and more drilling rigs moving back to work.

“I think part of the reason for that is that it speaks to how many people are on the sidelines waiting to get back into oil,” Culbertson said. “A roustabout can’t go into the retail industry and make that kind of money.”

The Stats

Indeed used its own data on jobs postings and job seekers, as well as looking at job postings on other websites. Oil-related job postings peaked at around 8 per 10,000 advertised job openings in early 2014, bottomed at around 2 per 10,000 positions this summer.

They have risen to just above 3 per 10,000 now.

Federal Reserve Bank Predictions

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ latest Beige Book, an economic outlook report, said oil and gas activity is expected to gradually pick up and that there’s a sense that 2017 would be better than 2016, though it also said those expectations have moderated somewhat.

In October, Texas employers added 13,700 jobs, including 1,000 in the mining category, which includes oil field workers.

This is good news for Albertan’s who are more than ready to get back to work.

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