The oil and gas industry is a crucial part of the U.S. economy. Not only has it contributed $1.3 trillion to the country’s coffers, but it’s also supported 10.3 million jobs, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute (API). Meanwhile, the average wage in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shared, was $101,181, excluding retail station jobs. The figure is 90 percent more than the national average, giving people with jobs in the industry more spending power and greater capabilities in providing for their families.
So exactly how does the industry help the US?
It’s an important source of revenue and jobs
People who work in the industry take on full-time and part-time jobs. On the whole, the industry makes up 5.6 percent of the country’s total employment. And from Alabama to Wyoming, big oil has boosted each state’s economy by varying amounts.
The rise of shale gas is further contributing to jobs and economic growth, prompting the country to export oil products—from crude oil to liquefied gas propane. Bloomberg reports that the US is likely to expand exporting activities. Of course, for oil and gas businesses, the explosive growth also means more competition. Companies in the exploration and production (E&P) sector may edge out competitors with aggressive upstream marketing.
It can reduce dependence on other countries
The oil and gas growth can help the US shed its dependence on other countries. With technology improving E&P activities, the country might not need to import oil and gas products from other countries, like the Middle East. The independence could also translate to energy security in which political instability and other volatile factors no longer hold the country hostage from supply.
Stability in relevant sectors
Historically, OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) has controlled the price of the world’s petroleum products. The price hold also had a disastrous effect on the U.S. economy some time ago. With the country becoming a major oil and gas exporter, oil price increases may not have that much of an impact on its economy. If the US continues to improve production without damaging its natural resources, the industry can provide a stable future that promises high-paying jobs, security, and overall—an economy that runs like a well-oiled machine.
The U.S. economy needs the oil and gas industry. That much is clear. What businesses and stakeholders need to work on now is ensuring that role becomes even more beneficial in the coming years.