NPR: Shale Development a Huge Boon to U.S. Manufacturing

Today, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition highlighted the remarkable impact that responsible shale development is having on American manufacturing, filing a short piece focusing on Marcellus development in Pennsylvania. The program highlighted how hydraulic fracturing is stimulating significant job growth for the manufacturing sector due to affordable and stable supplies of clean-burning natural gas — which is helping to create thousands of jobs during these challenging economic times. Here are several key excerpts from the story:

Energy production is stimulating growth along the supply chain. You can’t drill without steel; you can’t weld without workers. Whether an oil and gas producing state or not, domestic energy production is creating jobs in a wide array of manufacturing sectors.

  • “A natural gas drilling boom in Pennsylvania is helping the economies of Rust Belt cities long accustomed to bad news. Drilling requires steel — lots of it — and that has manufacturers expanding and hiring new workers.” Gas Drilling Boom Brings New Life To Steel Industry
  • Around the region, you can find many stories of businesses doing well because of the drilling boom — especially in Pennsylvania. … Doug Matthews is the senior vice president of tubular operations at U.S. Steel — his division makes the pipes and tubes the gas drilling industry uses. U.S. Steel is based in Pittsburgh and is still a big driver for the local economy. When it does well, so do its contractors, like Chapman Corp. in Washington, Pa.
  • Crews there are building a large new fabrication shop, as many engineering and construction firms are laying people off. “The $6 million investment that we’re putting into our new fabrication facility shows our confidence that the Marcellus Shale play is here to stay,” says Rich Tomsic, vice president for sales and marketing. That almost certainly will lead to more jobs in the region. It already has at a time much of the rest of the country is suffering.
  • Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry collects specific data on how many people have been hired because of the natural-gas drilling boom. Hiring for “core-related industries” has spiked from 5,501 in 2008 to 11,913 this year. “This is almost 117 percent growth,” says Sue Mukherjee, director of the agency’s Center for Workforce Information and Analysis.

And the American people are catching on! A poll released today by the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research (ACI) noted that 80% of Americans support increased energy development to create jobs. Natural gas is no exception.

  • “These results show strong consumer support for expanding domestic energy production as a means to accomplish several important policy goals – achieving lower energy costs, reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign energy sources and creating jobs,” ACI Release, 10/13/11.

With the American economy currently on the ropes, natural gas development continues to be a light at the end of the tunnel (or well hole) for thousands of Americans trying to provide for themselves and their families. American innovation created hydraulic fracturing; American determination has enabled it to prosper and will continue to provide for our growing, energy-consuming nation.

  • “Responsibly developing this vital, God-given shale gas resource would put thousands of Marylanders back to work, improve people’s living standards, generate billions of dollars in government revenues, help to balance county and state budgets and produce more American energy for all Americans.” Baltimore Sun Op-Ed, 10/12/11.

Before increasing our reliance on foreign fuels and “our so-called friends in the Middle East” (CBS-21’s RJ Harris, 10/10/11), let’s look to the great domestic energy potential—right beneath our feet.

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