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Energy sector jobs headed to Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma energy industry has created more than 12,000 jobs during the recession.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: April 6, 2012

Mike Huff moved back to Oklahoma City in June after spending nearly 16 years in Houston.

It was the oil and gas industry that led Huff away from the state. The same industry brought him back.

“The quality of life in Oklahoma City and the caliber of the amenities available in Oklahoma City are a lot better than they were just a few years ago,” said Huff, information technology director of geology, reservoir and drilling at Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp.

Huff attributes much of the city's recent success to the growth of the local energy companies.

“Good jobs drive good amenities,” he said. “It makes it easier to provide better shopping opportunities, better entertainment opportunities and better cultural opportunities when so many companies are growing.”

The state's oil and gas industry created more than 12,000 direct jobs from 2009 to 2011, in the midst of the national recession, according to an Oklahoma City University study. More than 83,000 people worked in the sector at the end of 2011.

At the same time, the average oil and gas industry salary increased to more than $113,000, up from just more than $107,000 two years earlier.

“It's wonderful to have such a growing labor force,” said Steve Agee, dean of the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University. “That's something you always want to see in a growing economy. Those high-paying jobs are good for state income and tax revenue.”

The oil and gas industry jobs have been created over a variety of career fields.

“The great thing about these jobs is they cover such a wide range from Ph.D. geoscientists to field workers with high school diplomas,” said Martha Burger, Chesapeake's senior vice president of human and corporate relations.

“There is a wide range of opportunities, all with great pay.”

Just five years ago, the concern among state and local leaders was that college graduates couldn't find local jobs and were forced to head to Texas or other states for employment.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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It's wonderful to have such a growing labor force. That's something you always want to see in a growing economy.”

Steve Agee

Dean of the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University


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