Don't look now, but those sneaky oilfield service companies--like Halliburton (gasp)--are up to their old tricks once again. Yup, they're using their "excessive" profits to fund new activity (WSJ-sub req):
Oilfield services companies are doing a booming business amid the rush to tap North America's newfound troves of crude oil and natural gas. The discoveries are pushing U.S. energy employment to its highest level in two decades.
Baker Hughes Inc. on Monday said its income in North America doubled last quarter from a year-ago to $440 million, despite weather-related disruptions in Canada that weighed on results. Last week, Halliburton Co. said its second quarter North American profit more than doubled from a year earlier. Schlumberger Ltd. on Friday said its North American profit jumped six-fold to $673 million, from $116 million a year ago.
Those gains translated into at least 17,200 new U.S. oilfield jobs during the quarter, according to federal employment data. In May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 413,500 jobs in the oil and gas extraction and support businesses in positions ranging from roustabout to tax accountant. Oil and gas extraction added jobs in June; corresponding data is not yet available for support positions. All the hiring, however, hasn't moved the needle on the nation's unemployment rate, now at 9.2%, due to weakness in construction and other industries.
Creating new jobs for Americans in America? How dare they! Don't they know that's President Obama's job (in addition to all the job saving he's done)? This calls for a fresh round of Congressional investigations, EPA regulations, and public industry bashing from the Obama administration.