Oklahoma County Best while Harris Co. Worst for Oil, Gas Economies

Harris County, part of the Houston metropolitan area, lost more than 1,400 jobs last year, making it the U.S. county with the worst oil and gas economy, according to data released Wednesday from economic and demographic data aggregator and analysis firm Headlight Data. Contrarily, Oklahoma County in Oklahoma City added 664 jobs, making it the top county for oil and gas.

Chris Engle, president and chief analyst for Headlight Data, told Rigzone a few factors that played into Oklahoma County’s job creation were its diversified oil and gas economy, Devon Energy being the county’s largest employer and Oklahoma City’s focus on shale, rather than the more petroleum-driven Houston.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Headlight Data delved into the oil and gas economies that showed the most growth and declines in 2015.

Counties rounding out the top five for best oil and gas economies were Kern County, CA; Ector County, TX; Williams County, ND; and Eddy County, NM.

Texas was also largely represented in the bottom 10 counties. Tarrant, Dallas and Fort Bend counties were second, third and ninth, respectively.

“You’ve got to look at the numbers … Dallas and Houston are very dominant in the oil and gas industry,” said Engle. “When times are good, those parts of the state do well and when the price of oil goes down, we see employers start to shed jobs.”

Recently, Texas economist Karr Ingham advised that after many believed Texas oil and gas unemployment bottomed out in February, it would be August before things begin to stabilize and it would be a slow climb to begin hiring again.

Valerie is an experienced writer and editor dedicated to providing useful and relevant career news about the oil and gas industry. Email Valerie at valerie.jones@rigzone.com

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john weaver | Jul. 29, 2016
Houston vacillates from the best to the worst as oil goes from $100 per barrel to $50 per barrel. Is there a correlation?

FB | Jul. 29, 2016
Agreed; the numbers seem way low. It does say it was for 2015, though, and I know the cuts have really accelerated here in 2016. I'd be interested to see 2016 numbers at EOY.

CJ | Jul. 28, 2016
Number of jobs lost seems very low for Houston area O&G jobs lost. Probably due to the majority of O&G workers not actually living in Harris County, but also in Fort Bend and Montgomery and other surrounding areas?


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