The U.S. Energy Information Administration today highlighted the importance of energy production to state economies and showcased the economic growth in those states where energy extraction plays a significant role in the economy. The EIA reports, “At the national level, establishments that extract crude oil and natural gas as well as naturally occurring mineral solids, such as coal and ores, collectively referred to as the mining sector in economic data, accounted for about 2% of the U.S. economy last year. In some states, though, the mining sector accounts for a much larger share of the economy. Of the six states where mining comprised more than 10% of the state’s economy in 2013, mining growth resulted in five of those states having higher economic growth than the national average.”
North Dakota, Wyoming, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas all experienced an increase in energy production and a resulting upsurge in economic growth. Alaska’s economy shrunk as energy activity fell.
The Energy and Power Subcommittee examined this trend at a recent hearing and explored the impact of state energy policies on the economy and employment.
Dr. Bernard L. Weinstein, Associate Director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University, testified, “In those states that have chosen to pursue energy development, output and jobs have grown faster than in most other states while their unemployment rates are well below the U.S. average of 6.1 percent.”
Dr. Paul Polzin, Director Emeritus of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, explained, “Employment in the U.S. energy industry has provided many new high-paying jobs while other sectors of the economy have experienced stable or even declining employment. In addition, certain localities across the country that had stable or declining economies are now experiencing welcome growth because of new energy developments. It’s not just people in energy industries that are benefitting; workers in industries such as construction, professional services, and accommodations now have greater employment opportunities and higher wages.”
Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) suggested the federal government should learn from the economic success of energy-producing states and copy these policies on the federal level. Whitfield expressed, “Washington should be learning from these state successes and applying the same pro-energy policies to federally-controlled lands and offshore areas, but unfortunately we are not doing so. In fact, recent reports from the Congressional Research Service and Energy Information Administration show overall declines in energy production from federal lands. North Dakota and others have set a good example for the nation, but that example is being ignored here in Washington. It is time for that to change.”
So where are the jobs? The jobs and economic growth are in those states that have chosen to embrace America’s energy resources. With pro-growth policies at both the state and federal level we can build on America’s energy success and create more jobs across the country. The Energy and Commerce Committee is pursuing such a plan to say #Yes2Energy called the Architecture of Abundance. To learn more about this new vision for American energy, visit: /yes2energy.