The US oil and gas drilling boom is creating jobs far faster than the general economy and generating enough wealth to prevent a lapse back into recession, according to a report published this month by the conservative Manhattan Institute.
Here are key findings of the report, by Senior Fellow Mark P. Mills, who also is founder and chief executive officer of the capital advisory firm Digital Power Group, from the institute’s web site:
• Overall US employment has yet to return to its prerecession level, but the number of oil and gas jobs has grown 40% since then.
• In the 10 states at the epicenter of oil and gas growth, overall statewide employment gains have greatly outpaced the national average.
• A broad array of small and midsize oil and gas companies are propelling record economic and jobs gains—not just in the oil fields but across the economy.
• America’s hydrocarbon revolution and its associated job creation are almost entirely the result of drilling and production by more than 20,000 small and midsize businesses, not a handful of “big oil” companies. In fact, the typical firm in the oil and gas industry employs fewer than 15 people.
• The shale oil and gas revolution has been the nation’s biggest single creator of solid, middle-class jobs—throughout the economy, from construction to services to information technology.
• Overall, nearly 1 million Americans work directly in the oil and gas industry, and a total of 10 million jobs are associated with that industry.
• Oil and gas jobs are widely geographically dispersed and have already had a significant impact in more than a dozen states: 16 states have more than 150,000 jobs directly in the oil and gas sector, and hundreds of thousands more jobs due to growth in that sector.
• In recent years, America’s oil and gas boom has added $300–400 billion/year to the economy; without this contribution, GDP growth would have been negative, and the nation would have continued to be in recession.
• The resources, technology, infrastructure, and thousands of small and midsize businesses are capable of producing even more growth and many more jobs, so long as policymakers do not obstruct progress in the oil and gas sector.