Thanks to a booming oil and gas industry in the U.S. and Oklahoma, energy staffing has grown tremendously in the last two years, adding 12,000 new jobs, according to a study recently released by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board.
The study, conducted by The Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute of Oklahoma City University, found that one of every six jobs in Oklahoma are in the energy industry, which currently supports a workforce of 344,000. According to Tulsa World, the energy industry currently brings in nearly $1 billion in direct gross production. Of that total, $504 million stems from oil production and $459 million is attributed to natural gas extraction.
The energy sector created $2.35 billion in federal personal income tax payments and $700 million in state personal income tax payments. The sector also created $563 million in sales tax.
"All in all, the bottom line remains the same which is Oklahoma is very much an energy state, very much an oil and gas state that relies on the health of this industry to drive our secondary industries, like manufacturing, like business services and support," said Russell Evans, executive director of The Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute.
Evans added that neighboring Texas has recouped 100 percent of all its jobs that were shed during the recession, while Oklahoma is virtually there. State treasurer Ken Miller attributed the jobs resurgence in both states to the resiliency of the oil and gas sector.
"Without the energy industry, Oklahoma would not have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 5.4 percent, almost 3 percent below the national average, the second highest job growth in the nation and the fourth highest per capita income growth in the United States," Miller said. "That is not bad and a lot of that is due to the energy industry."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment in the oil and gas sector is projected to increase by 8 percent in the 10-year period between 2010 and 2020. The hiring environment within the industry is highly volatile, and will depend greatly on the demand for the products and services that use oil and gas routinely.