Rising Labour Intensity of U.S. Shale

  • “Labor intensity” of drilling in the U.S. has varied considerably over the course of the shale revolution.
  • The chart below shows the ratio of U.S. Oil and Gas (O&G) industry employees vs. U.S. rig count.
  • The impressive growth trend corroborates that expanding intensity isn’t just for iron – it relates to human capital as well.
  • For each rig working, many more people are needed now than before. For instance, from 2006 to 2013, headcount per U.S. rig has grown 40% (from about 240 to over 335).
  • Over such a short period, this is a substantial step change, and this helps to clarify why there is so much hiring demand in the U.S. O&G sector.



Note: The 2009 spike is an anomaly because of the rig count collapse following the financial crisis, and should be disregarded.


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