U.S. oil and gas sector fuels economy, jobs growth


U.S. oil and gas sector fuels economy, jobs growth
U.S. oil and gas sector fuels economy, jobs growth

As both presidential candidates tour the country in an attempt to win votes, the energy sector has been on the lips of both incumbent President Barack Obama and candidate Mitt Romney.

But no matter the politics of the issue, it appears that the U.S. energy industry will continue to grow, creating thousands of jobs along with it, according to U.S. News and World Report.  As more oil and gas projects begin, they will fuel a new generation of job growth that will spill over into the manufacturing, construction, transportation and services sectors.

According to the news source, U.S. oil and gas firms have played a powerful role in helping the country recover from the depths of the Great Recession. The oil and gas sector injected more than $36 billion into the economy, supported about 148,000 direct and indirect jobs and paid about $36 billion in taxes in 2011.

The employment data from the sector could be the most impressive of all. Oil and gas companies created 37,000 direct jobs in 2011, accounting for 9 percent of the jobs that were created that year. What's more, these jobs are high-skilled, high-paying positions that immediately benefit the economy, the media outlet stated.

More specifically, the natural gas boom continues to create jobs and drive economic growth. According to the Reynolds Center Business Journal, the natural gas industry has and will continue to have a major impact on jobs around the country.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Natural Gas Distribution resource for 2011, the sector employs a wide range of workers, including architects, engineers and IT managers. The figures show the natural gas distribution sector employed a total of 108,440 people as of May, 2011.

The widespread effects of the oil and gas industry are currently being seen in Ohio, where new drilling projects are creating jobs and spurring millions of dollars in economic activity. According to Columbiana County Vindicator, county officials recently approved the lease of 550 acres to be used for gas drilling.

The state will provide $3.2 million to help create 20 new wells in the area, which will not only bolster energy staffing at oil company Chesapeake Exploration, but generate jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries as well.

Mike Halleck, board of commissioners president, said the drilling has been a "godsend" for the region's economy. Halleck added that Chesapeake has been "nothing but responsive and easy to work with."

County Commissioner John Payne said the new drilling will spur a number of new businesses, as long as the county ensures it attracts companies that can "marry up" with the current oil and gas development projects.

Data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources show Columbiana County has issued the second most permits throughout the states, with 47 operations expected to begin in the near future.

A recent study conducted by IHS Global Insight found that unconventional gas in Ohio contributed $3.04 billion to the economy in 2010, and that figure is expected to surge to surge to $7.92 by 2035. In this period, as many as 81,000 oil and gas jobs could be created throughout the state.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the oil and gas industry was on a steady incline from 2002 until peaking shortly before 2009. After falling to levels not seen since 2005, sector employment is beginning to pick back up, with the largest oil company clusters found in Texas and Louisiana.