Oil Boom Creates Well of Jobs

The oil is flowing in Texas, and so are the jobs.  Thanks to new crude finds in the Permian Basin, oilfield services companies are looking to hire hundreds of new workers, and are having difficulty finding enough qualified candidates.  "It's definitely a market where if you have any skills at all that are useful out there, or you can be trained quickly to do something, there's very good job opportunities available with very good pay right now," says Texas economist Ray Perryman.

Indeed, Halliburton recently announced it is adding more than 175 jobs a month, as the new crude oil finds prompt more building and expansion.  Perryman says the available jobs go beyond specific oilfield skills.  "If you have a commercial driver’s license and can be a truck driver, there's a lot of opportunities there for hauling water to and from the fields and that sort of thing," he tells KTRH.  "There are also opportunities for welders and machinists."

Finding qualified workers seems to be the biggest issue for the industry right now.  A recent survey of 60 West Texas oil executives by the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank found more than half listed concerns about having enough workers as a possible threat to growth.  Perryman sees another potential cause for concern down the road---the Trump Administration's proposed tariffs on imported steel.  "The drill pipe, all of the accessories and all of the equipment...everything related to the oil industry basically means heavy equipment and heavy things like pipe, and all of those tend to be made of steel," he says.

Nevertheless, Perryman still sees the long-term outlook for the energy sector as strong.  He notes the price of crude oil has steadied out to around $70 a barrel in recent years, allowing companies to project more long-term stability over the traditional boom-bust nature of the industry.  "There's more talk about long-term planning and long-term building of platforms and things of that nature, which is kind of changing the way the labor market traditionally works," says Perryman.  "And it is creating a lot of job opportunities right now."

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