The number of drilling rigs operating nationally nudged up this week as crude prices continued to hover above $60 a barrel. 

Drillers added two rigs, bringing the nation’s count to 440, according to oil-field services company Baker Hughes and research firm Enverus, which provide the weekly tally. A year ago, there were 408 rigs operating nationally as the global pandemic crushed crude demand and sent prices tumbling. 

The rig count, a leading indicator of the nation’s oil and gas production, has been climbing in recent months after bottoming out at 244 in August. In another sign that drilling activity is recovering from the pandemic, exploration and production companies added 4,300 jobs in March while oil-field services companies added 23,000 jobs in March. 

RECOVERY: Texas added thousands of oil jobs in March

The Permian Basin, which stretches from West Texas into New Mexico, has 224 operating rigs, down two from last week; the Haynesville in East Texas has 45; and the Eagle Ford in South Texas has 34, up one from last week.

Texas had 212 operating rigs this week, no change from last week and up from 201rigs a year ago. The state is home to most of the Permian Basin, the nation’s most productive shale play, and hosts about half of the country’s oil and gas rigs.