As production increases, the number of Texans employed by the oil and gas industry also rises.

It is no question that the current Texas oil boom has significantly improved the employment prospects in the state. However, the exact impact the industry has had on job creation can often vary, depending on who one asks. 

At the beginning of the month, Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter stated that "a record-breaking 297,800 Texans appeared on oil and gas industry payrolls," according to the San Antonio Express News. However, within 24 hours of that announcement Lee Tillman, president of Marathon Oil, claimed that Texas "counted more than 400,000 jobs in the oil and natural gas sector in the first quarter of this year."

Although this is clearly a large distinction, the varying reports are not necessarily surprising or new for the industry. Because the oil and gas sector involves such a diverse range of processes, covering from upstream to downstream and oil to natural gas, each sector varies in its definition of the industry, and therefore the number of professionals employed. Economic, and often political, motivations for each sector can regularly lead to conflicting reports. 

"We have to use the same numbers," Daniel Hamermesh, a labor economist at the University of Texas told the source. "Otherwise every industry that wants to make itself sound good will claim more people for more political power, and we end up in a state of 35 million employment and 24 million people."

Interestingly, both Porter and Tillman's employment figures derive from the same source: payroll data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But with the wide range of different sectors, these numbers can be interpreted very differently. 

Even if the exact total may be cloudy, one thing is for certain: The current boom in Texas shows no sign of slowing. The Lone Star State continues to lead the nation in job creation, even with the often conflicting reports. 

Oil and gas strategy consulting can help ensure that all new employees are aligned with organization objectives, and understand how their role helps move the company forward.