Fact Sheet | Oil and Gas Well Drilling | April 2010

Employment in the Oil and Gas Well Drilling Industry

Employment in the oil and gas well drilling industry accounted for 63,012 jobs in September 2009, which is the most recent period available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program.

Employment in drilling oil and gas wells, U.S. total January 2001-September 2009

Gulf Coast employment in this industry is most concentrated in a number of Texas counties and Louisiana parishes. Drilling accounts for a much larger share of employment in these localities than is the case for the Nation as a whole.

Nearly a quarter (23.6 percent) of total U.S. Employment in this industry is in Harris County, Texas (Houston), which accounts for 14,881 jobs and 0.9 percent of private sector employment in that county. Drilling's share of Harris County employment is almost 15 times its share of the national total, also known as a location quotient.[1]

Lafayette Parish (Lafayette) had 3.2 percent of U.S. employment in this industry. Drilling accounted for 2,014 jobs and 1.8 percent of Lafayette's private sector employment. Oil and gas well drilling's share of Lafayette Parish employment is 30 times its share of the national total.[2]

The Baker Hughes company reported 1,281 active rigs in 2009, of which 55 were offshore.[3] QCEW employment reflects the reported place of employment, which may not be the physical location of work. Drilling employment is not available separately for land and offshore operations.

Coastal counties with employment of 500 or greater in the drilling oil and gas wells industry, third quarter 2009

More information on employment and wages in the oil and gas extraction industries are available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/cew or by telephone at (202) 691-6567.

SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), April 23, 2010. Employment data are from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.


[1] The location quotient in this industry in Harris County is 14.6. More information on location quotients can be found at the following Web site: www.bls.gov/cew/cewlq.htm.

[2] The location quotient in this industry in Lafayette Parish is 29.8. See www.bls.gov/cew/cewlq.htm for more information.

[3] Baker Hughes is a private company that serves the worldwide oil and natural gas industry, providing reservoir consulting and products and services for drilling, formation evaluation, completion, and production. Among its other services, the company provides rig counts. More information can be found at the company's website at https://us.gis.connect.bakerhughes.com/rigcountweb/default2.aspx.


Last Modified Date: January 11, 2016