The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Metro Economies Ride Energy Renaissance

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 20, 2014

A new study conducted for the U.S. Conference of Mayors underscores the significant economic link between America’s energy renaissance and a surge in U.S. manufacturing job creation and business activity. Some of the key findings in the IHS Global Insight study:

  • mayorsAbundant supplies of natural gas and oil lowered costs and increased refining volumes, resulting in a surge in plastic, rubber, resin and chemical manufacturing. These industries saw a combined employment increase of 2.6 percent across all metropolitan areas (2011-2012).
  • Energy-intensive manufacturing added more than 196,000 jobs and increased real sales by $124 billion in the nation’s metro areas from 2010-2012.
  • Energy-intensive manufacturing will expand by more than 1 percent annually nationwide through 2020, with 72 percent of those jobs going to U.S. metro areas.

Reuters has this from Lansing, Mich., Mayor Virg Bernero, who chairs the U.S. Mayors’ advanced manufacturing task force:

“We're all aware of the incredible impact the energy revolution is having on our national economy. The growing competitiveness and increase in employment from these manufacturing sectors are important to our cities and metro economies.”

The study notes that oil and natural gas development in the nation’s key shale regions in 2011 and 2012 required new pipelines and mining equipment, driving demand for steel, iron, fabricated metals and machinery – sectors that saw increases in real sales (17 percent) and employment (9.7 percent). IHS  Global:

These energy intensive sectors will continue to boost the US economy for years to come as exploration and extraction fuel the iron, steel, machinery and fabricated metals industries, and cheaper natural gas stimulates demand from organic chemicals, resins, and plastics. Cheaper natural gas will also benefit the housing market recovery as it lowers the costs for construction and building materials such as flat glass and cement.


Domestic demand as well as that from growing global economies, combined with a regained competitive advantage will lead to extra capacity, higher output, job growth, decreased unemployment for the US, and an improved trade balance.

The findings dovetail with previous studies showing our energy renaissance is boosting the manufacturing sector – adding 500,000 manufacturing jobs since 2009 as the sector added 6.2 percent to the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S. in 2012.

This is great news for the U.S. economy and for individual Americans as well. Thanks to vast reserves of shale and other tight-rock formations and advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the United States has moved to global leadership in combined oil and natural gas production, with the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimating domestic oil output will near all-time highs in the next couple of years. The International Energy Agency estimates the U.S. could be the world’s leading producer of oil as early as next year.

As studies are showing, abundant domestic energy is creating positive ripple effects throughout the economy – including breathing new life into a manufacturing sector once thought to be in permanent decline. American energy makes America stronger, more prosperous and more secure in the world – today and tomorrow.


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.