Did you know that natural gas development supports over 2.8 million U.S. jobs? In the middle of an economic slowdown, natural gas production is creating jobs while other industries are shedding them. Thanks to shale gas, the number of jobs supported by this industry is set to grow substantially over the next few decades.
The Shale Gas Boom is Creating Jobs
Over the past five years, U.S. natural gas production has seen huge growth. This is largely due to the extraction of natural gas from shale rock. Using hydraulic fracturing, energy companies have found ways to recover gas that was once thought inaccessible. One result has been phenomenal job growth:
Current job growth from shale gas drilling is strong, but it can be even stronger in the future:
- In Ohio, the number of Utica Shale jobs could grow from 2,275 in 2011 to 65,680 in 2014. By 2015, shale gas drilling could create $22 billion in new economic activity in that state.
- By 2020, robust shale gas development could create over 27,000 jobs in New York and, and over 30,000 jobs in West Virginia.
- Were New York to lift its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, it could see over 15,000 new jobs created by 2015.
Boosting Local Small Businesses
Many of these jobs are directly related to shale gas drilling – working on the rigs, transporting equipment, and monitoring the hydraulic fracturing process. But the employment supported by shale gas drilling goes far beyond these types of jobs.
In Marcellus Shale drilling areas, local businesses have seen a large influx of new customers. Hotels, for instance, are setting record occupancy rates thanks to natural gas drilling. Restaurants, hardware stores, and many other small businesses in shale gas country are also experiencing an economic boost.
Creating Manufacturing Jobs
The shale gas boom is creating jobs in other ways, too. For instance, manufacturers are opening up plants in the United States to take advantage of lower energy prices due to shale gas drilling. The petrochemical industry is also expanding thanks to the greater production of natural gas, one of its core raw materials.
Thanks to shale gas production, 1 million manufacturing jobs could be created by 2025.
Shale Jobs Depend on Good Policy
These jobs depend on sound government policy. Pennsylvania, which welcomes shale gas development, has seen enormous job growth because of it. Its neighbor to the north, New York, has a ban on hydraulic fracturing, something that has caused it to lose out on energy jobs.
Energy Citizens need to encourage their elected officials to support policies that encourage shale gas development. From opposing hydraulic fracturing bans to allowing upgrades to our natural gas infrastructure, the actions in your state capitals and Washington, D.C., will play an important role in keeping the shale gas flowing.
Let your lawmakers know that supporting shale gas means supporting good-paying jobs for Americans!