The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

American Energy = American Jobs

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 3, 2014

It looks like a pretty solid national jobs report for June, with the 288,000 positions that were added  exceeding the hiring rate over the year’s first five months and unemployment dipping to 6.1 percent. That’s a good story. There’s an even better one deeper in the Labor Department data: The oil and natural gas industry and its supporting activities are setting the pace in job creation.

Consider: Comparing numbers in this report with those from a year ago, the oil and natural gas extraction and supporting sectors outperformed the private sector as a whole in terms of job growth and a number of other relevant measurements, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Details:

  • 7.9 percent growth in oil and natural gas extraction employment from June 2013 to June 2014, compared to 1.8 percent for the private sector as a whole.
  • $31.09 in average hourly earnings for all employees of the mining and logging sector (of which oil and natural gas is a part), ranking third among all sectors and exceeding $24.45 for the private sector as a whole.
  • $26.92 in average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees of the mining and logging sector, ranking third among all sectors and exceeding $20.58 for the private sector as a whole.
  • Mining and logging (including oil and natural gas) topped all sectors in providing workers with full-time hours, which translates into solid, reliable employment.
  • Mining, quarrying and oil and natural gas extraction had the largest year-to-year decrease in unemployment (June 2013 to June 2014) – nearly 4 percent – of any sector. For contrast, the national unemployment rate has declined about 1.5 percent over the past year.

Those are significant numbers for the oil and natural gas industry, following on last summer’s report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that found industry employment grew 40 times faster than the total U.S. private sector from 2007 through the end of 2012.

The oil and natural gas industry supports 9.8 million jobs and added $1.2 trillion to the economy, according to PwC. It is driving employment and growth in states like North Dakota, Texas, Colorado, Ohio and others. Given the opportunity, industry could generate positive economic impact in states like New York and California as well.

Americans care about jobs and the economy. They connect increased production of domestic oil and natural gas with job creation, economic stimulus and greater U.S. energy security. Industry is creating jobs now and can create more in the future with a true all-of-the-above approach in which America chooses energy – chooses to harness its oil and natural gas wealth for greater prosperity here at home and greater security in the world.  

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.