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Texas economy, drilling on the rise, but are oil prices capped?

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Economists say the Texas economy could pick up a bit after two slow years.

Texas employers should bring on about 242,000 jobs this year, about 25 percent more than last year, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said last week.

As oil prices rose and the energy industry stabilized, Texas gained jobs consistently from July to November, averaging 25,000 new jobs a month, compared with a rockier first half of the year, which included a net loss of 11,700 jobs in March, the month after crude prices hit a 12-year low of $26 a barrel.

“It’s safe to say we’re going to add jobs, and probably a significant number” in the energy industry this year, said Karr Ingham, an economist who studies the Texas oil industry.

He estimates Texas oil companies added just 1,000 jobs in the past three months after cutting 102,000 over the previous two years, but those gains could accelerate if oil prices hold around $55 a barrel.

Oil output turnaround?

Another forecast last week, this one from the Energy Department, indicated the nation’s oil production may be turning around from a decline of half a million barrels a day over the past year.

If initial November and December production data are confirmed in coming weeks, U.S. oil production will record the first quarterly increase since early 2015, according to the Energy Department. The current projection is that domestic output could rise to an average 8.9 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter, up from 8.7 million in the previous three-month period.

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Written by Collin Eaton

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