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Mining, Oil And Gas Jobs In The U.S. Drop For 20th Month in a Row

Oil Worker

Even as the American economy grew by 38,000 jobs last month, the nation's mining sector lost just over 10,000 jobs in the month of May, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The sector has not seen positive job growth since September 2014, when it boasted more than 852,000 jobs—or 207,000 more jobs than last month. Three-fourths of the losses in May came from support activities for mining projects.

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Oil and gas extraction jobs also faced a decline of 1,700 jobs - even after seasonal hiring and firing patterns are taken into account.

Major layoffs have been the norm for oil and gas companies over the past two years as low oil prices have chronically hurt profit margins.

By the start of February, layoffs in the U.S. energy industry had reached 100,000, more than half of which occurred in Texas - the nation’s energy capital.

A total of 351,410 jobs have been slashed by oil and gas production companies worldwide, with the oilfield services sector bearing much of this burden, according to a report released earlier this month by Graves & Co., a consulting firm based in Houston.

Layoffs in oilfield services companies and drilling companies have been particularly acute. Almost 60 percent of the losses have come from these two types of firms.

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The exploration and production (E&P) sector was the second worst sufferer, registering more than 80,000 layoffs, followed by the drilling sector, which has seen more than 52,000 job cuts.

“For a long time, job cuts in the E&P sector lagged behind the oilfield service, drilling and supply sectors as oil and gas producers attempted to hold on to important talent,” said John Graves, president of Graves & Co. “As the downturn has persisted beyond the expectations of many in the industry, the impetus to cut costs has significantly affected those responsible for finding, developing and producing oil and gas.”

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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