Does the US oil/gas industry only employ 200k?
That seems kinda low to me.
By that definition, I would never have been counted in those numbers after decades in the industry. I always worked for someone like an engineering firm with an oil/gas client. For us, there are dozens of engineers/designers/procurement/etc people for every client engineer.
If you work at a factory that makes pipe for the oil/gas industry, you would not be counted in those numbers. Lots and Lots of indirects for the directs.
Efficiency increases over time (if allowed to, as in normal business).
There are many other industries that employ a lot of people, most of which are low-tech. And many industries where jobs have gone overseas.
Just think of what people spend money on; food, shelter, clothing, transportation. And all those consumer-sales businesses buy from businesses that sell either exclusively to business (like industrials) and those that sell to both (like phone/data service).
The industrials, or business-to-business-only businesses, create jobs but do not rely on consumer spending in the same “money spending cycle” (i.e., “velocity of money”) to do so, like consumer goods companies do. The 1990’s were an economic “boom” time because all of the job growth from which the “boom” originated were business-to-business companies. That is, initially, we had business spending on outsourcing Inside America, giving out many fat paychecks to outside consultants without requiring corresponding consumer price increases and no layoffs (it was a capital allocation choice, i.e., the equivalent of private sector “stimulus”). Said consultants then spent and invested their earnings almost entirely inside the U.S. economy.
Oil companies are dang efficient - even though they are huge.
The stranglehold is on little companies where things like the potential liabilities stemming from Human Resources-related law, environmental regulations, capital formation, etc., create egal minefields and financial hurdles for the small business owner (it’s not simply a problem of too many “forms to fill out”).