Richard Meyer American Energy Driving Job Growth

Some optimistic economic news emerging this week.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this month’s job report shows U.S. payrolls gained 243,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%.  The decreasing unemployment rate is one more indicator that Americans are finding jobs and getting back to work.  In fact, newly revised data shows the U.S. created 1.82 million jobs in 2011.  This is good news for a U.S. economic recovery.

Contributing, in part, to the job growth over the last few years has been the booming energy industry here at home.  See the chart below.  The blue line represents total employment in oil and gas extraction, and the shaded areas indicate periods of recession.

Oil and gas extraction employment has added 67,700 jobs since 2003, a 57 percent increase.  After a slowdown in job additions during the 2007-2009 recession, as there were in other sectors of the economy, oil and gas extraction employment is once again growing, and at increasing pace since 2010.

And remember, these are direct jobs as classified by the BLS.  Direct jobs in turn create other employment opportunities in other sectors – called indirect jobs – which prompts new spending and new job creation yet again – these are induced effects.  Therefore, the full economic and employment effect goes beyond just the direct jobs represented here.  (See the America’s Natural Gas Alliance jobs report for more).

When you add up all the jobs from cleaner energy technologies, including renewables, biofuels, natural gas and others, the positive effect on American is apparent.

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