Focus on Jobs

Millions of Jobs from Natural Gas — And More Possible!

The natural gas industry currently employs nearly 3 million Americans — and provides a huge economic boost to the American economy. 

Here’s how jobs in the energy sector stack up:

  • The natural gas industry employs 622,000 people directly and helps create over 2.2 million more American jobs.  (See more here.)
  • The coal industry employed 154,000 people directly and positively impacted 400,000 more jobs in 2008.  (See the National Mining Association information here.)  (Natural gas is almost 4 times larger!)
  • The nuclear industry employs approximately 120,000 people.  (See the Nuclear Energy Institute information here.) (Natural gas is about 5 times larger!)
  • The solar industry employs approximately 119,000 U.S. workers. (See the Solar Energy Industries Association information here.) (Natural gas is more than 5 times larger.)
  • The wind industry reports that it employed 75,000 people in 2013. (See the American Wind Energy information here.) (Natural gas is more than 8 times larger.)

New studies have been issued recently which demonstrate the tremendous job impact natural gas development could have if industry was unleashed.

Here’s what the reports say (some include oil with natural gas jobs):

1 million new jobs new jobs possible in 7 years from natural gas and oil drilling. 

In October 2012, IHS released America’s New Energy Future: The Unconventional Oil and Gas Revolution and the US Economy, which finds that employment related solely to natural gas development is expected to grow from more than 900,000 workers in 2012 to exceed 1.6 million workers by 2020.  The report also notes that valued-added contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product made by unconventional natural gas activity is estimated at over $121 billion in 2012, growing to $225 billion in 2020, with revenues to federal, state & local governments forecasted to grow from more than $61 billion in 2012 to $111 billion in 2020.  See more on economic contributions in individual states, as well as this related press release from NGSA.

400,000 new jobs possible nationwide from shale natural gas development.

In March, 2011, the American Chemistry Council released a report titled, Shale Gas and New Petrochemicals Investment: Benefits for the Economy, Jobs, and US Manufacturing. It says that a modest increase in natural gas supply from shale deposits would generate more than 400,000 new jobs in the United States, more than $132 billion in U.S. economic output and $4.4 billion in new annual tax revenues.

Gulf of Mexico: 230,000 to 430,000 new jobs possible from oil and natural gas development.

A report issued in June, 2011 titled “The Economic Impacts of Gulf of Mexico Oil and Natural Gas Development on the U.S. Economy” says if the right policies decision are made, “total employment supported by the Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas industry in 2013 could exceed 430,000 jobs or a 77 percent increase from 2010.”  The report was prepared by a company “Quest Offshore” for the National Ocean Industries Association. 

Another report issued in July, 2011 titled “Restarting “The Engine” –Securing American Jobs, Investment, and Energy Security” found that, “Swift action to reduce the growing backlog of plans and increase the pace of plan and permit approvals to explore for oil and natural gas resources in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico would increase employment opportunities in almost every state, boost tax and royalty revenues for governments, and help stabilize US energy security…. which in 2012 results in 230,000 American jobs.”   The report was prepared by IHS Global Insight and IHS CERA.

New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia: Up to 300,000 new jobs possible from shale natural gas development.  

New York:  A draft environmental impact statement issued in September, 2011, by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation found that allowing hydraulic fracturing in the state could generate 55,000 new jobs in the state – nearly 25,000 full-time drilling-related jobs and more than 29,000 new jobs in other parts of the economy.  See the report at:

Another report by the Public Policy Institute of New York issued in July 2011  (Drilling for Jobs: What the Marcellus Shale Could Mean for New York) found that 62,620 jobs could be created.

Pennsylvania: A report by Penn State University issued in July 2011 (Pennsylvania Marcellus Natural Gas Industry: Status, Economic Impact, and Future Potential) found that over 181,335 new jobs could be created, and by 2020, the state could have 250,000 jobs supported by natural gas.
West Virginia: A report by West Virginia State University (TheEconomic Impact of the Natural Gas Industry and The Marcellus Shale Development in West Virginia) issued in December of 2010 found that between 7,200 and 12,500 new jobs could be created.

Ohio and Michigan – Over 200,000 new jobs possible from natural gas development.

Ohio: A report issued in September 2011 by Kleinhenz & Associates indicates that “More than 204,000 jobs will be created or supported by 2015 due to exploration, leasing, drilling and connector pipeline construction for the Utica Shale reserve.”  Read the report at: Ohio’s Natural Gas and Crude Oil Exploration and Production Industry and the Emerging Utica Gas Formation

Michigan: A study released in August 2011 by Michigan State University Professor Bill Knudson found that if that state developed its own natural gas resources, it could create up to 19,000 jobs during the construction phase and between 1,200 and 6,300 permanent jobs.  For more, see: .

Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, and North Dakota: 70,000 new jobs possible from oil and natural gas development. 

A study released in July 2011 by the Western Energy Alliance, titled the Blueprint for Western Energy Prosperity, reported that new natural gas and oil development could create approximately 70,000 new American jobs and add $6 billion in new tax revenues to local, state and federal governments over the next decade.

Alaska – 54,700 new jobs possible from natural gas and oil development:  

A study released in February 2011 found that “Economic activity resulting from OCS development in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea could generate an annual average of 54,700 jobs nationwide, with an estimated cumulative payroll amounting to $145 billion (in 2010 dollars) over the next 50 years. It is estimated that about 30,100 jobs would be generated from the Beaufort OCS development and 24,600 jobs from development of the Chukchi Sea OCS.”

The report was prepared by a private company called “Northern Economics” in conjunction with the University of Alaska Anchorage.  See it at: Potential National-Level Benefits of Alaska OCS Development.

Positive Impact on America’s Economy…

Natural gas heats nearly 70 million American homes and businesses, and cleanly generates approximately 23 percent of America’s electricity. Approximately 30 percent of America’s natural gas is used by virtually everyone because natural gas molecules are a key ingredient in the products made by U.S. industry.

For example, natural gas is a chemical building block in manufacturing everything from detergent to trash bags, insulation to paint, film to toys, pantyhose to antifreeze, swimming pool liners to food containers. The combined economic impact of natural gas development, exploration, production and usage to the U.S. economy in 2008 was $385.5 billion.

Good pay for American workers . . .

America’s natural gas exploration and production workers — the men and women on the ground — earn excellent wages, often double the national average.  For example, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor reports that natural gas workers in that state earn an average of $73,000 a year.

Those exploration and production jobs help employ other Americans in a variety of businesses — including automobile manufacturing, housing, construction, manufacturing, retail sales and more.

Paying into the Federal Treasury . . . 

In 2007, over $2.9 billion non-tax dollars went to the U.S. Treasury from royalties, rents and bonuses from natural gas development and production.  In 2008, with higher energy prices, that number more than doubled to more more than $7.2 billion.

States earning money from production. . .

In 2007 state governments received $1.1 billion from royalties and other payments from the natural gas and oil industries.  In 2008, state governments received over $1.4 billion from natural gas companies.