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Manhattan Institute

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Where The Jobs Are: Small Businesses Unleash Energy Employment Boom

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Where The Jobs Are: Small Businesses Unleash Energy Employment Boom

February 20, 2014
Energy & EnvironmentOther

Key Findings

America continues to suffer from a post—World War II record slow recovery in employment as well as record worker anxiety. Meanwhile, the brightest corner of the economy, the oil & gas sector, has seen stunning growth in creating jobs across the nation and in dozens of domains. With the right policies, much more is possible to encourage and accelerate the small-business-centric oil & gas revolution.

America’s oil & gas boom has added $300–$400 billion annually to the economy—without this... GDP growth would have been negative and the nation would have continued to be in recession.

  • Overall U.S. employment has yet to return to its prerecession level, but the number of oil & gas jobs has grown 40 percent since then.
  • In the 10 states at the epicenter of oil & gas growth, overall statewide employment gains have greatly outpaced the national average.
  • A broad array of small and midsize oil & gas companies are propelling record economic and jobs gains—not just in the oil fields but across the economy.
  • America’s hydrocarbon revolution and its associated job creation are almost entirely the result of drilling & production by more than 20,000 small and midsize businesses, not a handful of “Big Oil” companies. In fact, the typical firm in the oil & gas industry employs fewer than 15 people.
  • The shale oil & gas revolution has been the nation’s biggest single creator of solid, middle-class jobs—throughout the economy, from construction to services to information technology.
  • Overall, nearly 1 million Americans work directly in the oil & gas industry, and a total of 10 million jobs are associated with that industry.
  • Oil & gas jobs are widely geographically dispersed and have already had a significant impact in more than a dozen states: 16 states have more than 150,000 jobs directly in the oil & gas sector and hundreds of thousands more jobs due to growth in that sector.
  • In recent years, America’s oil & gas boom has added $300—$400 billion annually to the economy—without this contribution, GDP growth would have been negative and the nation would have continued to be in recession.
  • The resources, technology, infrastructure, and thousands of small and midsize businesses are capable of producing even more growth and many more jobs, so long as policymakers do not obstruct progress in the oil & gas sector.

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