NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Oil, Gas and Coal Can Prime the Jobs Pump

November 8, 2012

America needs jobs, and needs them soon. The financial crisis of 2008 destroyed 8.4 million jobs. Since then, through a combination of public and private sector initiatives, only 4.4 million jobs have been added. The hydrocarbon sector (oil, gas and coal) alone could add over 4 million more jobs in the near future, say Mark P. Mills, a senior fellow, and Yevgeniy Feyman, a research associate, at the Manhattan Institute.

Policies that take advantage of the abundance of hydrocarbon can spark widespread employment growth.

  • Ten million Americans are currently employed directly and indirectly in businesses connected to oil, natural gas and coal production.
  • Hydrocarbon jobs ripple throughout the economy.
  • For every hydrocarbon related job, six jobs are added in sectors from manufacturing to information services.
  • By extension, in at least 20 states, jobs from hydrocarbon expansion equal one-fifth to three-fourth of all individuals counted as currently unemployed or underemployed.

Hydrocarbon jobs cannot be the sole solution to the nation's economic dilemma. But, they reflect the most promising opportunity for near-term jobs with minimum public interventions.

  • The economic benefits that come from privately-financed expansions in domestic production would generate at least $2 trillion.
  • In terms of monetary to social equivalence, each hydrocarbon job, on average, brings in $500,000 of societal benefit.

In the coming two decades, the U.S. Department of Energy observes that oil, gas and coal will supply 60 percent to 80 percent of world growth.

  • Currently, 80 percent of U.S. and global energy needs are delivered by hydrocarbons.
  • Barely 2 percent of contemporary energy consumption is met by green alternatives (solar, wind and biofuels).

Mills and Feyman insist we know where to dig, drill, build and ship, and can create millions of jobs using new technologies. Thus, the next important step is to implement policies that boost domestic production.

Source: Mark P. Mills and Yevgeniy Feyman, "Oil, Gas, and Coal Can Prime the Jobs Pump. Which States Will Benefit?" Manhattan Institute, October 2012.


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