The oil slump has claimed at least 28,300 oil and gas jobs in Texas since December as the industry continues to pare back amid the worst downturn in years, according to the latest estimates released by an industry group.

Oil and gas employment in the state set a record high in December with 305,000 on the payroll following a rapid hiring spree by energy companies rushing to extract oil and gas from shale plays across the state, according to data compiled by petroleum economist Karr Ingham for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.

But falling oil prices put an end to industry’s job expansion. The number of Texans on the industry payroll has fallen 7.7 percent to 281,600 in August, according to estimates based on Texas Workforce Commission data, which is not seasonally adjusted.

An index developed by Ingham to gauge the health of Texas’ oil industry continues to slump following the collapse in employment numbers, the price of oil, the rig count, drilling permits and well completions. The Texas Petro Index, which has measured job numbers, rig activity and production totals for nearly two decades, tumbled another 10.7 points in August to 235.4. That’s 24 percent lower than last year.

The continued slide in the monthly index, which has been designed to measure broader economic trends in the state’s oil and gas industry, underscores how the industry continues to feel the pain from weak oil prices with no recovery yet in sight, Ingham said in a statement.

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