A view of the Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown, Texas, in this file photo taken September 15, 2008. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi
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Plunging energy prices robbed the Texas economy of an estimated 60,000 jobs last year, as oil and gas companies put the brakes on production and slashed investment, throwing engineers and geologists out of work.Throughout the Baytown area, which is on the outskirts of Houston, an estimated $8 billion worth of projects is expected to be finished this year and another $22 billion completed in 2017 .The global economy may be sputtering, with weak demand one of the reasons that oil prices have cratered. But the U.S. keeps adding jobs, and at a rate consistent with the outlook from Fed policymakers who expect growing U.S. payrolls will mean enough domestic spending to keep the economy expanding overall.In a rough year for the oil business, the state as a whole added 144,000 jobs in 2015, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, with strong gains across the trade and hospitality sectors, as well as professional services, health and education.More recent analysis of occupation and wage trends by Goldman Sachs showed that over the past two years in particular job gains have been strongest in higher-paying positions.In the Houston metropolitan area, which compared to the rest of Texas has traditionally been most dependent on the energy sector, the oil crash did not prevent a net gain of 23,000 jobs last year.
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