People get tired of hearing how great Texas is, or how great Texans think Texas is, but the fact is that Americans are moving in droves to Texas because jobs are available. And, the engine of that job growth continues to be the oil and gas industry, aided in no small part by advances in technology that are creating a moderate, second oil and gas boom.
The unemployment rate in Texas fell to almost a full point below the national average in August 2013, dropping to 6.4%, a sizeable .4% below last year. That is almost one point less than the national average of 7.3%, and most analysts believe that the gap between the Texas and the U.S. rates will continue to grow.
Texas employers have added more than a quarter-million jobs in the past year, and many of them were created in the oil and gas industry. For instance, drilling jobs grew by 7.3% in the past year, while jobs in extraction grew by 24.4%, both impressive rates that helped to decrease overall unemployment in the state. In addition, support positions in the oil and gas industry jumped 35.6% over the past six years, further powering state job growth. One economist says that for every job created in the famed Permian Basin in west Texas, two jobs will be added in Houston’s skyscrapers, where the industry is directed by management and support staff.
All of this symbolizes a complete and total rebound from the oil bust of the 1980s, when the state of Texas lost nearly half a million jobs. Since then, more than 800,000 jobs have been created, as the oil and gas industry have exploited new technologies to continue to find resources for energy that were not available even a short time ago.
And, this increase in job opportunities is not expected to abate. Forecasters from the Bureau of Labor Statistics believe that the new energy boom will add nearly 4 million jobs in the U.S. by 2025, many of them in Texas.
Many of the jobs have arisen because of the exploitation of shale formations in the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin areas. As a result of the relatively recent practice of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, where natural gas and oil are extracted from shale rock layers far below the Earth’s surface, developers are finding that Texas soil is still rich in energy resources. This ingenious technology has proven to be especially applicable to the huge Eagle Ford shale formations in south Texas, as well as in the Permian Basin.
Basically, in areas where wells were thought to be tapped out, fracking has given oil and gas developers a second shot at the rock formations in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford areas. It has led to a second wave of oil and gas production, which has in turn created hundreds of thousands of new Permian Basin jobs and opportunities in Eagle Ford.