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.


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