The U.S. oil industry will need to hire tens of thousands of workers in the next two and a half years as oil prices recover and drillers stand up rigs, Goldman Sachs projected in a note this week.
The question is whether workers flushed out of the industry and into a resurgent U.S. labor market will head back to the oil patch. On Friday, government data showed the United States added a whopping 287,000 jobs in June, and the nation's unemployment rate held below 5 percent.
Recruiters have long warned that layoffs could come back to haunt an industry still dealing with a shortage of mid-career workers following the 1980s oil bust. As the United States reaches full employment, oilfield services companies and drillers could face a shortage of workers and may have to pay dearly for them.
Since the start of the oil price downturn in 2014, more than 291,500 energy jobs have been lost worldwide, estimates recruitment agency Airswift.