Is Oil Drilling Creating Jobs?

oil worker standing at pipelineThe oil and gas industry is the leading industry for job creation in the United States. Recent studies have shown that the oil and gas industry job growth is not only the fastest growing industry in the U.S. but also has added the most number of jobs since 2007 with no signs of slowing down.

Unemployment concerns have badgered Americans for several years. In August 2013, overall unemployment and job growth in the U.S. dropped to its lowest point since December 2008. Despite the drop, employment in the oil and gas industry has seen huge gains. As new drilling technology continues to be developed and new shale plays are discovered, the results are large employment increases in the oil and gas industry.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has reported jobs in the oil and gas industry increased 40 percent while total U.S private sector employment increased by only one percent from the beginning of 2007 through 2012.  By the end of 2012, jobs related to drilling wells accounted for more than 90,000 jobs, oil and gas extraction and exploration accounted for 193,000 jobs, and oil and gas support made up more than 286,000 jobs in the United States, a very impressive overall effect on the economy.

For a 10-year period, service operators and petroleum engineers were among the ten fastest growing jobs in the U.S. Service unit operators working in natural gas extraction represented the  fastest growing job in the country from 2002 to 2012.  Service operator job growth has increased by 335 percent since 2002. Service operators make a median annual pay of $41,000 a year. The second fastest growing occupation in the U.S. is petroleum engineering, which has grown 227 percent from 2002 through 2012.

Aside from employing hundreds of thousands of workers, the oil and gas industry has also added close to $75 billion in state and federal revenues and contributed $283 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2012. It’s safe to say that the oil and gas industry is creating jobs and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. In fact, by 2020, oil and gas industry employment in the U.S. is expected to grow from 2.1 million to an estimated 3.3 million.

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