70ºF

Unlike other cities, Houston doesn't mind spike in gas prices

HOUSTON – People who have their eye on energy also have their eye on oil prices.

Crude topped $70 this week and for much of the country, that raises alarm bells because of a spike in gas prices.

But for Houstonians, when the price of oil climbs, it's a good thing.

The first place you'll feel the higher oil prices is at the gas pump, but if you're about to graduate, you could also see it when you apply for a job.

The only photo you might treasure more than your graduation photo is a selfie at your new job. Seniors at the University of Houston who are looking for jobs in the energy sector believe there is new hope.

Naila Dowla is working on her doctorate in geology. She said the prospects are better now than a few years ago.

"Previously, it was two job spots with 100 students applying for that position. Now, it feels less competitive and you feel more likely to help your friend out and less likely to compete against them," she said. "There are more opportunities."

That's thanks to higher prices for a barrel of crude oil. While you may pay more at the pump, Houston's economy could benefit.

"We saw oil prices since the start of the year go up by $10 a barrel. Since this time last year, it's up $20 a barrel. We need to find that sweet spot to where the price is high enough to add some juice to Houston's economy," said Patrick Jankowski, the senior vice president and research and regional economist at the Greater Houston Partnership. "The oil industry likes to see steady increases, not a spike."

That could mean more opportunities for senior Julian Chenin, who is about to graduate and begin grad school.

"You have a lot of younger talent entering and they're ready to contribute. They're eager. They're passionate. They have this sense of fire to light the torch to explore the unexplored," Chenin said.

Economists said one out of every four jobs in oil and gas was lost during the last downturn. They said we are slowly gaining them back.

What does this mean to our economy?

How much more are we paying for a gallon of gas?

AAA says Texans are paying about $00.39 more per gallon of gasoline now than we were a year ago.

“Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in Texas, drivers in Midland and El Paso are paying the most on average at $2.84 while drivers in San Antonio and Texarkana are paying the least at $2.51 per gallon,” AAA Texas said.

How many jobs did the Houston area lose during the last downturn in the energy sector?

Jankowski said we lost one of every four jobs in oil and gas. He said those jobs are slowly being added back at companies. He said the first jobs created are in oil field service and in manufacturing. He said companies are adding the office jobs more slowly.