The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Oil and Natural Gas – Four Times The Jobs

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 2, 2014

The latest national employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics prompts Carpe Diem Blog’s Mark J. Perry to tweet:

Let’s put a fine point on it: The number of direct jobs in oil and natural gas extraction has grown 7.2 percent since April last year, more than four times the growth rate in all U.S. jobs, according to BLS. The word for that kind of growth – in the midst of an economy still trying to heat up – is wow!

Now, keep in mind that the BLS data line for “oil and gas extraction” covers only part of industry’s upstream (pre-refining) segment. Scroll down a few lines in this BLS table to find direct jobs supporting oil and natural gas operations – such as building and dismantling field rigs, core drilling services, hydraulic fracturing services and much more (enter the number 213112 in the search engine for the full list) – and you see dynamic growth there as well, 6.3 percent from April last year through March, the most recent data month available. Wow again.

Including all direct industry segment jobs and indirect and induced jobs that exist because of industry activity, and you’ve got 9.8 million supported jobs, according to PwC. Every single one of them is valued because they represent income and opportunity for a worker and/or a family.

This is good news, but even better: With increased domestic energy production driving new investments in operations and infrastructure, America’s energy revolution and energy jobs renaissance can keep growing. An IHS study projects that infrastructure spending alone will create between 900,000 and 1.1 million supported jobs and add between $94 billion and $120 billion to GDP from 2014 to 2025.

Another IHS study estimates that increased development of America’s shale reserves could create more than 3.87 million jobs and add more than $533 billion to the economy in 2025. This is what a dynamic, leading industry does and can continue to do. If we make the right choices – developing domestic unconventional oil and natural gas, investing in infrastructure and in other energy policy areas.

Recent polling shows Americans favor more oil and natural gas infrastructure, by large margins. That’s where the jobs are. The construction jobs President Obama called for on Friday? According to the U.S. State Department, building the Keystone XL pipeline, the biggest shovel-ready infrastructure project around, would create 42,100 jobs during the construction phase. And it would boost the economy, and strengthen our energy security. All are reasons Americans support Keystone XL’s approval and construction.

API President and CEO Jack Gerard, talking recently about job opportunities industry can provide:

“We have the natural resources and the technology to be a global energy superpower with all the economic and national security benefits that entails. Smart energy policy will create tremendous opportunity for hundreds of thousands of workers – from those with just a high school diploma and some post-secondary training to those with post-graduate degrees.”

America’s energy means job opportunities for Americans. 


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.