Oil and gas sector employment is on the road to recovery in the United States after the significant job shedding that took place during the pandemic era. But a full recovery won’t be seen for another five years, a new analysis from Rystad Energy showed on Wednesday.
The U.S. oil and gas industry lost 200,000 jobs during the pandemic, according to Rystad calculations. This represented 20% of the total workforce in the sector. In 2020 alone, 100,000 oil and gas jobs were lost in the United States—mostly in the drilling tools and services segment.
Now, as demand for oil and gas has recovered—and oil and gas prices along with it—more than half of those jobs have since been added back. But the remainder of the recovery is set to be slower, based on Rystad Energy’s oil price scenario where WTI averages $106 this year, $70 per barrel next year, and $50 per barrel in 2025.
This year, US oil and gas employment is set to grow by 12.5%, Rystad said, finishing the year with 971,000 O&G jobs. By 2027, that figure is set to reach 1.09 million—up from 1.07 million pre-Covid.
Rystad also noted that while the number of jobs is expected to increase by 12.5% this year, wages are only set to grow 2.9% this year, as inflation hits oil and gas company bottom lines.
By 2024, however, this wage growth is expected to increase by 10%.
“Fueled by a rapid rise in oil prices amid a better-than-expected demand recovery and the supply constraints brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US labor market seems poised to benefit and continue on a growth trajectory,” Sumit Yadav, an analyst with Rystad Energy said in Wednesday’s press release.