Posted February 10, 2014
The top of Pew Research’s annual survey of the U.S. public’s top issues priorities looks a lot like last year’s – and the survey for 2012, and for 2011 and for 2010. This year, as in each of those previous years, Americans told Pew that strengthening the economy and improving the job situation should be the top priorities for President Obama and Congress. Pew’s graphic:
The specific percentages vary from year to year, but boosting the economy and creating more jobs are consistently at the forefront of most Americans’ thinking. Unfortunately, the January jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates continuing difficulty on both fronts. Although the economy added 113,000 jobs in January, the figure was short of the 180,000 or so jobs expected by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Yet, while total U.S. non-farm employment rose just 0.1 percent from December 2013 to January 2014 and has grown 1.7 percent from January 2013 to January 2014, the jobs picture for oil and natural gas extraction is something different – and better. Sector employment rose 0.9 percent to 206,000 jobs last month over December 2013 and has increased 6.6 percent (12,800 jobs) since January 2013. Here’s oil and natural gas jobs growth over the past year in a chart:
The point here is that job creation and economic growth remain cause for concern – reflected in Pew’s survey. The economy is growing, adding jobs, but not at the rate everyone wants. Amid this, the oil and natural gas industry continues to be a bright spot, a leader in generating the kind of economic results the country needs across all sectors.
And it can do more. With pro-development policies – including increased access to domestic reserves onshore and offshore, a common-sense approach to regulation and permitting and actions that encourage energy investment – industry could add 1 million new jobs by 2020 and 1.4 million by 2030. According to a recent study by IHS Global, improving U.S. energy infrastructure could generate $1.14 trillion in capital investments and support an average of 1.15 million jobs per year between 2014 and 2025. API President and CEO Jack Gerard at last month’s State of American Energy event:
“The American people get it and stand with us on today’s most important energy policy questions. They understand that pro-growth energy policies will translate into millions of stable, good paying jobs, which would go a long way to lowering unemployment and shrinking the income inequality gap, which is shaping up to be a central theme in this year’s midterm elections. The truth is, the average upstream oil and natural gas job pays roughly seven times the federal minimum wage. It is a little wonder that, according to recent polls, most Americans – 77 percent – want to see this nation increase production of domestic oil and natural gas resources. Ninety-two percent of American voters agree that increased production of domestic oil and natural gas resources could lead to more jobs in the U.S.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.