Energy sector fueling employment growth

07.20.2012


Energy sector fueling employment growth
Energy sector fueling employment growth

All around the country, cities are seeing the benefits of renewed activity in the oil industry, which not only is increasing energy staffing in these areas, but is helping the cities grow overall, Reuters reports.

According to the news source, Odessa, Texas, is expected to be the fastest-growing city in the U.S. this year due to a huge increase in oil activity, followed by Lafayette, Louisiana, and Bismarck, North Dakota - both of which have extensive oil and gas operations.

On average, most cities are expected to fall behind the 2 percent economic growth that is expected for 2012, the study, conducted by IHS Inc. for the U.S. Conference of Mayors found.

"Lafayette, Odessa and Bismarck will each see robust activity in natural resources," the report stated, and added that the energy sector will be a major source of employment in the coming year in Louisiana, while oil production specifically will help raise employment levels in Texas and North Dakota.

The surge in energy activity nationwide is largely due to new oil- and gas-extraction methods, such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. This alone has led to a revival of Texas' oil industry, which still produces the most oil of any state in the country. The technique has also led to an oil boom in North Dakota, and is helping oil companies tap into the massive Bakken shale-oil formation, which is estimated to hold as much as 4 billion barrels of oil.

In Odessa, the energy sector is expected to help the city grow by 9.7 percent. The West Texas city currently has a population of about 100,000, and employment is projected to rise 7.2 percent in 2012, the media outlet stated.

According to Reuters, the oil industry has grown so much that officials believe it will be a major aspect of the recovery in several regions.

"The industry surge this decade in investment, jobs and incomes has been largely spurred by low natural gas prices, a result of the rapid incorporation of new drilling techniques to extract shale and other unconventional gas supplies," the report said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the oil and gas industry has grown from 192,300 in March 2012 to 195,400 in June.