Alec Krosser: Jobs

One of the most important economic indicators of a new industry is the number of jobs created. Growth in an industry is also an important factor because it is indicative of long-term potential in the new industry. According to a 2009 report, The Contributions of the Natural Gas Industry to the U.S. National and State Economies, the U.S. has had a significant increase in the number of natural gas workers between 2006 and 2008. As seen below in Figure 1, the number of natural gas workers in 2006 was 517,233 workers, and that number steadily increased to 622,412 workers in 2008. This information was the most recent data at the time of this report’s release. The positive trend in the number of employees shows that the natural gas industry is capable of growing, and that when the industry grows new job opportunities become available. (1)
The information from Figure 1 only describes the workers classified as “direct workers.” Indirect workers are people who work in industries reliant on the natural gas industry. The number of indirect workers from 2006 to 2008 is also accounted for in this report, and is shown to also be steadily increasing. In 2006, 620,078 indirect workers were reported, but 2008 had 723,121 indirect workers, an increase of over 100,000 workers. A third category called induced jobs was also summarized in this report. Induced jobs, which are jobs created by the money that indirect employees spend, showed an increase from 1,282,267 workers in 2006 to 1,482,818 workers in 2008. Although these jobs are not directly related to the natural gas industry, induced jobs still illustrate the positive economic impact of the natural gas industry on employment, and the upward trend in number of jobs due to natural gas companies. From these data, the number of jobs created from the natural gas industry was estimated to be around 3 million in 2008. (1)
President Obama has talked about the number of jobs hydraulic fracturing will create. He stated by the end of this decade, the number of drilling jobs created by the natural gas industry could be greater than 600,000 (2). The number used by Obama is supported and called a realistic estimation by other experts. This number shows that though the last report is slightly dated, the number of jobs created by the natural gas industry is still increasing. Also Obama’s estimate only includes part of the direct category, and does not include the indirect or induced categories from the 2009 report. Overall, the number of natural gas workers is steadily increasing and creating a new job market.