The Texas Workforce Commission reported yesterday that the state added an eye-popping 80,600 jobs during the month of February, at a rate of more than 4,000 new jobs every business day of the month. That’s the highest monthly employment gain for the Lone Star State back to at least 1990 (see chart above, data here), and possibly the highest monthly job gain since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking such data in 1939, according to the Dallas Morning News. The 80,600 job gain in Texas last month means that more than one out of every three of the 236,000 jobs added to US payrolls in February were in Texas, even though the state represents only 8.3% of the nation’s population.
Over the last year through February, employment in Texas has grown by 3.3%, which is more than twice the 1.5% growth in payrolls nationally over that period, and is being led by job gains of 7.5% in both the state’s oil and gas industry and the state’s construction industry. As reported earlier on CD, “Saudi Texas” now produces almost one-third of America’s crude oil, and the state would rank No. 13 in the world for oil production if Texas was considered as a separate country. The state’s oil production has more than doubled in the last three years, increasing by more than 1.1 million barrels per day since January 2010.
More than one-third of the state’s increase in oil output over the last three years has come from the Eagle Ford Shale oil field in South-central Texas, which has gone from an insignificant production in 2009 to the single-largest oil development in the world in 2012, with oil production of almost 375,000 barrels per day in January (most recent month available). According to a study released last week by the University of Texas-San Antonio, the economic activity associated with the Eagle Ford Shale play added $28.4 billion to the state’s economic output last year, which is like adding another state larger than the size of Vermont to the US economy.
The record-setting job growth in Texas last month is more evidence of the energy-based economic stimulus that shale oil and gas are providing for states like Texas and North Dakota. It’s no coincidence that the exponential, record-setting increase in Texas oil output over the last few years is making a major contribution to record-setting increases in the number of shovel-ready jobs in Texas. Drill, drill, drill = jobs, jobs, jobs.
Carpe oleum = Seize the oil.