September 22, 2015

Oil and gas job cuts continue in NM

Margaret Wright

Oil pump in southeast New Mexico.

The oil and gas industry has been a bright spot in the New Mexico economy over the past few years.

Five year WTI crude oil prices from Bloomberg. Accessed 9/21/2015.

Five year WTI crude oil prices from Bloomberg. Accessed 9/21/2015.

But with the price of oil staying low and showing no signs of improving, that may be changing.

Albuquerque Business First reported that job cuts from the international conglomerate ConocoPhillips will include cuts in New Mexico. ConocoPhillips is the top gas producer in the state and one of the top oil producers in the state.

From Business First:

“I can confirm that our company has decided to reduce our workforce by 10 percent. Our industry is undergoing a downturn, which has caused us to look at our future workforce needs. As we assessed the implications of lower prices on our business, we made the difficult decision that workforce reductions are necessary. We are committed to treating all our employees with respect and fairness during this process,” [ConocoPhillips director of communications Jim Lowry] said. “At this time, the exact number of layoffs in New Mexico is not available because it is so soon after the decision. We’ll know more in the next several weeks as we work through our formal process.”

New Mexico’s rig count has been dropping in recent months; it stood at 99 in September of 2014 according to Baker Hughes. It now stands at 49.

New Mexico mining and logging employment, 2010-2015.

New Mexico mining and logging employment from Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2010-2015. Accessed 9/21/2015.

With these numbers it is no surprise that ConocoPhillips isn’t the first company to cut jobs in the state.

ConocoPhillips announced at the start of the month that it is cutting ten percent of its global workforce.

Federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics numbers show that employment in the mining and logging sector, which includes the oil and gas industry, peaked in November 2014 at 28,900 employers. Preliminary August 2015 numbers who 26,900, the lowest since December of 2013.

Department of Workforce Solutions numbers in New Mexico show similar numbers for the mining and logging industry; 27,000 in August of 2015.