The number of people employed in America’s oil and gas extraction went up in March, the first back-to-back monthly job gain since October 2014, just before the oil crash began in earnest.

Meanwhile, more than 4,000 support jobs were added in February, the fourth increase in a row and the biggest since September 2014.

The total workforce in US oil and gas extraction is now about 381,000 – more than 150,000 below the peak in September 2014.

But there are concerns that renewed drilling, well-completion and hiring will see rising costs even as oil prices are still hovering around the $50 a barrel mark.

The rally in oil and gas prices earlier in the year means that, even with increases in employment, average hours and wages, the cost to the industry still looks manageable compared to revenue.

Only two weeks ago, Halliburton, which has cut 30,000 jobs in the past two years, announced it was hiring again in order to meet surging demand for its services in the US.

It remains to be seen how quickly and easily the workers who were shed can be hired back.

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