The pain in the U.S. energy sector — the biggest job cutter in both 2015 and 2016 — appears to be easing.
The U.S. jobs report for December offered further signs that employment is stabilizing in America's oil patch, which has seen mass layoffs throughout more than two years of low oil prices.
For the seventh month in a row, employment in the oil and gas extraction industry came in near or above 172,000, according to the Current Employment Statistics survey.
That trend is starting to show up in more comprehensive data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. The figures, based on census reports from all U.S. business establishments, showed employment in oil and gas extraction roughly steady at 175,000 positions in May and June, the last months for which data were available.