The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Grist for the Jobs Creation Discussion

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 8, 2012

A new post up at Grist takes issue with the 9.2 million jobs our industry supports.

It says we come by the 9.2 million jobs number falsely, that we deviously include “indirect” or “induced” positions in the total. It says we’re not transparent about our jobs. For good measure, it takes a shot at Energy and its distinctive icon. Now, we might let the other stuff slide, but the icon – that we’ll defend!

Seriously, we’re not part of the food fight Grist wants to have – trying to pit oil and natural gas industry jobs in this country against green energy jobs. We don’t knock green energy or its technologies. The oil and natural gas industry invested  $71 billion in that area from 2000 to 2010 – nearly as much as the rest of U.S. private industry combined ($74 billion) and nearly twice as much as the federal government ($43 billion) over the same period.

The fact is America needs all sources of energy going forward, and green energy is important in an all-of-the-above strategy. We wish Grist felt the same way about oil and natural gas – which supply more than 60 percent of the energy we use now and are projected to supply nearly as much in 2035.

Likewise, America needs every single job that’s created, supported or induced. Every one of them is a paycheck for an American worker. In the case of oil and gas, that’s 9.2 million jobs that probably wouldn’t exist without our industry, which contributed nearly a half-trillion dollars to the U.S. economy in 2010.

We’ve discussed job modeling before, but there’s nothing devilish about including indirect and induced jobs. Virtually every employment study uses them, including this fairly significant one advanced not too long ago by the White House.  Economists (if not some blog sites) recognize that job creation has dynamic effects. Exhibit “A” is the job creation from energy going on North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and other energy states.

As for transparency, Grist must not have looked very hard at our websites. Again, there’s this detailed breakout of the 9.2 million jobs our industry supports. And there’s this detailed analysis of those 9.2 million jobs. No camouflage, no sleight of hand.

Even better news? Our industry can do more. A study by the Wood Mackenzie energy consulting firm found that with the kind of pro-energy policies API recently recommended to both political parties, our industry could create 1 million new U.S. jobs in the next decade. Here’s how it looks in a chart:

Now, about Grist’s digs at our website and icon. We admit it: Energy is a happy place. We’re talking about jobs, tax revenues for government and energy security for America. What’s not to smile about? And the icon is a leaf – representing the origin of America’s oil and natural gas riches. We like it.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.