Reports released April 3 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that while employment increased in March by 126,000, this was the weakest month for job gains in more than a year.
There were job losses in mining – a decline of 11,000. This continues the trend of the industry with more than 30,000 jobs being lost in 2015 already. In 2014, the industry added 41,000 jobs. This year’s industry losses and last year’s gains were concentrated in support activities for mining, which includes support for oil and gas extraction.
When crude oil prices began dropping the middle of last year, several oil and gas companies had to make capital cuts, including reductions of its workforces. Oil and gas powerhouses Schlumberger Ltd. and Halliburton Co. are just a few of the companies who cut jobs in efforts to deal with the sharp decline in oil prices.
But the jobs report is not all doom and gloom, according to some reports. With the perceived slowing of the economy, many are hoping that the U.S. Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates.
With the low job gains for March – making for a strong U.S. dollar – as well as other factors, there is little reason for the Fed to raise interest rates, reported Oilprice editor James Stafford in a Huffington Post article. According to Stafford, this would help oil and gas companies by causing the dollar to appreciate at a rate lower than expected and, because oil is priced in dollars, this would create a weaker dollar, causing oil prices to rise – a plus for oil companies.