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The New Energy Economy is a Jobs Engine

If there’s one sector of the U.S. economy where “help wanted” is the phrase of the decade, it’s the U.S. energy industry.

The oil and natural gas industry already supports 9.8 million jobs, making it one of the largest employers in the United States. Over the last few years, the industry has led the way in new job creation for Americans. Thanks to the new technologies and advances in extraction methods, energy sector jobs in the U.S. increased 40 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This energy sector job growth far outpaced hiring in the rest of the U.S. private sector, which grew employment by only 1 percent – or more than one million jobs – over the same period.

With forecasts calling for even more production if the crude oil export ban is repealed, the energy sector is poised for further job growth. IHS Energy, a global consultancy and think tank, finds that lifting the export ban would add investment of nearly $750 billion, and potentially $995 billion, in the upstream exploration and production sector alone, which in turn will fuel job creation.

The same is expected for jobs in the larger U.S. economy, whether in the energy supply chain itself or in other industries feeling the ripple effect of a growing U.S. economy, spurred by a growing energy economy.

According to the Brookings Institution, job creation tied to repeal will be “economy wide rather than oil industry specific or necessarily new jobs. Rather as the welfare benefits of repealing the ban ripple through the economy, there will be a host of people flocking to new employment opportunities.”

IHS Energy finds that “total US jobs increase due to free trade will be, on average, 394,000” while “peak job creation in 2018 is nearly 1 million.” Likewise, global consultancy ICF International reports that “the U.S. Economy could gain up to 300,000 jobs in 2020 when crude exports are allowed.”

And the Government Accountability Office notes that “removing export restrictions is expected to increase the size of the economy, with implications for employment, investment, public revenue, and trade.”

IHS further notes in its study that “benefits from free trade of crude oil [will be] distributed throughout the US. Jobs growth and economic benefits are continent-wide and not just in large oil producing states due to substantial supply chains supporting the field production, capital spending, transportation, and refining of crude oil. For example, 24 percent of the future jobs supporting the oil industry [will be] located in states that essentially produce no crude oil.”

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