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How many jobs does the oil and gas industry really create in production states?

Amy Mall

Posted June 14, 2012 in Health and the Environment

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Statistics compiled by Workforce West Virginia, a workforce development network, reveal that the number of West Virginia residents working directly for gas and oil drillers has not increased over the past two years, despite a continued upswing in drilling and fracking. More information is available in this article. The number of workers actually decreased from 2010 to 2011.

On the other hand, a 2009 report published by the University of Massachusetts found that net job creation is substantially higher with clean energy investments than fossil fuels at different educational levels. The paper determined that, when compared to fossil fuel energy, clean energy investments create 2.6 times more college degree jobs; 3.0 times more ‘some-college’ jobs; and 3.6 times more ‘high school or less’ jobs. While average wages are higher in fossil fuel, there are more types of all jobs in cleaner energy.

The Massachusetts researchers also found that a shift from fossil fuels to clean energy investments will yield a net increase in U.S. employment of 1.7 million jobs—i.e. an increase in 2.5 million jobs through clean-energy investments and a corresponding decline of about 790,000 jobs in fossil fuels. This assumes that there is available unemployed labor (there would be no change in employment if people had to be moved from one job to another).

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Comments

DENCOJun 14 2012 11:11 AM

This is the most misleading blog post I have ever seen. Are you suggesting we could have zero unemployment and no GHG emissions, but we are just sitting on that plan for a rainy day?

John DoeJun 14 2012 11:13 AM

The big lie in this whole debate is what is considered a "green job". According to the labor department - basically anything can be considered a green job.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/06/08/labor-dept-counts-oil-lobbyists-garbage-men-bus-drivers-as-green-jobs-video/

Your premise is completely flawed & obtuse.

Amy MallJun 14 2012 12:11 PM

John Doe: The point of the Massachusetts study is that--overall--investments in clean energy create more net jobs than investments in fossil fuels. Their analysis covers all jobs created and compares the two types of investments and the resulting impacts on job creation.

Amy MallJun 14 2012 12:22 PM

Denco: There are plans that would accomplish much lower GHG emissions and higher employment (although not full employment). We hope that politicians don't sit on them much longer.

BSJun 14 2012 09:12 PM

So what you're saying is that green technologies are more expensive and labor intensive. Therefore, embarking on such "investments" will drive up the price of everything and reduce worker productivity.

No thanks. Let's allow alternative energy to develop more "naturally" in a way that will support real economic growth.

John DoeJun 18 2012 02:27 PM

Definitions matter. If you consider any type of job (antique store clerk, school bus driver, etc..) a "green job" then of course it's going to look like more green jobs are created. The green movement is being intellectually dishonest.

LHJun 18 2012 03:58 PM

John Doe - that's standard procedure. It might be garbage to count those jobs in that way, but it's still comparing apples to apples because it's done consistently across industries.

Obviously non-sensical, because if you added up all the jobs in each industry, you'd end up with a total greater than the actual number of jobs in existence.

BS - Sure, let's do that. I agree 100%. But that means removing ALL subsidies in energy and putting a price on ALL environmental externalities.

"where there are serious externalities where you can really make a case for government involved. And in general also wherever possible government should be involved by setting a fee on the activity concerned" - Milton Friedman

BSJun 18 2012 04:20 PM

In response to: "BS - Sure, let's do that. I agree 100%. But that means removing ALL subsidies in energy and putting a price on ALL environmental externalities."

Subsidies I think we could all live without. And if those environmental externalities could be quantified with a significant level of certainty, I'd say that sounds like a great plan. Unfortunately, that will never happen. You wouldn't even get people to put forth an honest effort because money talks on both sides of the issue.

We've done a decent job cleaning up pollution (non-GW-related). There is no good way to measure the cost of GW. Cap-and-trade schemes have often been about raising revenue for gov'ts rather than actually accomplishing something. And while I would never go so far as to claim that carbon emissions do not impact the climate, the proponents of AGW wage capaigns of misinformation that only makes it less likely that we'll ever see eye to eye.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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