The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Oil and Natural Gas Impact: 9.6 Million Jobs, $1.1 Trillion Added to GDP

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 16, 2013

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study reveals some important numbers about the U.S. oil and natural gas industry, in terms of employment, labor income and value added in 2011:

  • Industry supported 9.6 million jobs.
  • More than $580 billion was paid in labor income, and industry’s estimated total addition to U.S. GDP was $1.1 trillion, accounting for 7.3 percent of the national total.
  • Industry invested about $292 billion in capital expenditures and paid out $28.7 billion in dividends to the real owners of America’s oil and natural gas companies – including dividends paid to retirement plans.

Those are national figures. The real economic impact of oil and natural gas development is being seen vividly in individual states. The impact is large enough that even states with little or no energy development themselves are benefiting – in addition to energy producing states – according to an IHS state-by-state analysis. Supply chains supporting domestic oil and natural gas development and the induced effects of company spending and investment have generated new jobs and new tax revenue across this country. The analysis also shows there is vast potential in the years ahead for more jobs and more revenue for our nation as a whole and for nearly all states.

As our recent State of American Energy report put it:

“A future of abundant domestic energy is already arriving through today’s oil and natural gas industry investments in cutting-edge technologies to access resources previously thought unreachable. … Thanks to vast U.S. energy resources and a world-class  refining sector, the oil and natural gas industry stands ready to continue the investments made in jobs, communities, technology, the environment and safety, while improving America’s energy security."

Needed: policies to sustain and grow oil and natural gas development – including access to U.S. reserves now held off limits, a common-sense approach to regulation that fosters safe and responsible development without needlessly delaying or complicating projects and a climate that encourages oil and natural gas investment.

The numbers above suggest a new era of economic expansion for the United States in terms of jobs, capital spending and the generation of revenues for governments. In the process America will become more energy self-sufficient and more secure. The choice is ours.


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.