Shale jobs won't top pre-pandemic levels until 2027

David Wethe 5/18/2022

(Bloomberg) — The recovery of the shale patch workforce is still years in the making despite the frothy profits that rallying crude prices are generating for U.S. oil companies and their contractors.

Employment in the U.S. oil and gas industry is expected to jump 12.5% this year to 971,000, according to Rystad Energy. But it will take another half decade before employment in the region tops pre-pandemic levels, according to new research from the industry consultant. Workers will have to wait until 2024 to see double-digit annual wage hikes. Pay this year is expected to climb 2.9%, according to Rystad.

Oil companies are hesitant to boost wages dramatically as they seek to keep a lid on skyrocketing costs. As a result, rig workers look elsewhere for a higher pay, with renewables being the most popular landing spot. Workers in Midland, Texas, the heart of the Permian Basin, are battling a 10% jump in prices in the world’s busiest shale patch, and America’s No. 1 spot for inflation over the past year.

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