Human resources

Oilfield Services and Equipment Sector’s Job Losses Surpass 100,000

Although OFS employment is at its lowest point since March 2017, job losses slowed in August as companies start to recover.

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The US oilfield services (OFS) and equipment sector lost approximately 2,600 jobs in August, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the lowest total since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

The monthly “Oilfield Services and Equipment Employment Report” compiled and published by the Petroleum Equipment & Services Association (PESA) shows total job losses reached 103,420 in August. OFS employment is down more than 121,000 jobs since August 2019 and is at its lowest point since March 2017.

Using BLS data, PESA, in consultation with researchers from the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, estimated OFS sector jobs in the US dropped 13.5% from 764,189 in February to 660,170 in August. Losses were heaviest in April, totaling 59,306 jobs—the largest 1-month total since at least 2013.

States with the most job losses in 2020 include Texas (59,000), Louisiana (10,200), and Oklahoma (9,200).

States with 4,000 or more OFS jobs lost in 2020

  1. Texas 59,000
  2. Louisiana 10,200
  3. Oklahoma 9,200
  4. Colorado 5,000
  5. New Mexico 4,500
  6. California 4,500
  7. Pennsylvania 4,400

OFS employment year-over-year fell 15.5% from 781,946 jobs in August 2019 to 660,770 in 2020, representing annual wages of approximately $13.1 billion.
PESA said the job losses slowed in August as companies began taking steps to restart oil and gas production, but COVID-19 could stall economic recovery and suppress demand. Its analysis of Small Business Administration data found that approximately 180,000 OFS jobs were supported by loans from the Paycheck Protection Program.