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Posted by Jim Fearon, Vice President, Central North America on Tuesday, May 27, 2014
The start of the year has been positive with an overall increase in the global job index from 1.31 in Q4 to 1.65 in Q1. Several regions are showing higher increases in the number of available jobs, confirming our optimism about the global economic recovery. The industry still has a significant shortage of skilled talent and this shortage will continue to drive compensation packages as companies fight to secure the talent required to drive their business forward.
After a significant drop in jobs at the end of 2013, the job index for North America has rebounded and is now in line with the global trend ending Q1 at 1.67. Continued leasing and exploration in the Gulf of Mexico has resulted in drilling activity surpassing pre-Macondo levels. Production is expected to surpass the 2009 peak production of 1.6 MMbopd, from the current 1.2 MMbopd, before the end of 2015. Investment into the midstream and downstream sectors has seen a jump in business activity and therefore jobs and hiring has leveled off as employers await final decisions on various pipeline and LNG projects.
For Q1 in Canada, there has been a boost in the job market as businesses invest in highly technical personnel to maximize production from existing facilities. As a result, there has been consolidation activity, alongside a shift in resource focus from dry gas assets to liquid rich gas and conventional oil mix of consolidated assets. The streamlining activity is due to financial instabilities, while the resource shift is due to horizontal drilling and fracturing technologies unlocking previously unrecoverable reserves.
While Alberta is known mainly for producing crude oil, natural gas exports have increased, boosting production from the region. The lower value Canadian dollar has attracted business from foreign interests which has also supported job market growth in the region.
Providing the price of oil remains above $100 per barrel we are optimistic of the continuing levels of capital investment throughout 2014 and expect to see strong growth in the job market through the second half of the year.