AP NEWS

Stalled US oil market recovery leaves many jobless in Texas

May 7, 2018
A May 1, 2018 photo shows a general view of the exhibition floor at a recent Offshore Technology Conference held at NRG Park, Houston, Texas. Skilled workers in Texas are still looking for jobs as U.S. employment in the oil and gas industry continues to lag behind rising oil prices. (Gary Fountain/Houston Chronicle via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — Skilled workers in Texas are still looking for jobs as U.S. employment in the oil and gas industry continues to lag behind rising oil prices.

Job seekers hoping for an oil market recovery will likely have to continue waiting before companies increase hiring, the Houston Chronicle reported . The country’s oil and gas extraction industry has recovered fewer than 6,000 of the nearly 60,000 jobs lost in the 2014 oil bust, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Oil extraction companies shed an additional 2,000 jobs in Houston in March compared with a year earlier, the agency said.

Oil field workers are finding jobs easily in the booming shale plays of West Texas, but scientists, engineers and other knowledge-based professions are finding more trouble.

Thousands of job seekers attended the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this month to network, hand out resumes and meet with oil companies.

“There’s a perception of recovery, but there’s really no recovery at this point,” said Ramesh Anand, president of American Personnel Resources in Houston.

Oil companies are hesitant to increase hiring due to concern that crude prices could quickly drop again, according to analysts. Companies are instead using robotics, data analysis, artificial intelligence and other technology to employ fewer workers.

Anand said he’s seen geologists give up on the industry, switching to financial adviser careers or pursuing master’s degrees in business.

“There’s a perception of recovery, but there’s really no recovery at this point,” he said. “It hurts me to see exceptionally qualified PhDs who were talking to me two years ago still meet me today looking for a job.”

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com

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