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Energy development is driving above-average economic growth, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data of 2013 state GDP. The mining industry (which includes oil and natural gas development):
was a large contributor in five of the fastest growing states: North Dakota, Wyoming, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Colorado. In North Dakota, the fastest growing state in 2013, mining contributed 3.61 percentage points to the state's 9.7 percent growth in real GDP.
The benefits of increasing energy development go beyond the energy sector. Public radio show Marketplace interviewed Austin Golding, co-owner of a Mississippi barge company. The energy boom—especially hydraulic fracturing--is putting more money in his pocket:
We’ve really benefited from becoming a true source of quick transportation for anything fracked in this country. The domestic crude oil, the natural gas, the natural gasoline is all being moved by barge now and kind of a new wave of product we’ll be moving soon is the actual fracking water. They’ve been really trying to find a safe way to move it in bulk, so right now we’re working with the coast guard to determine what form of regulation will be placed upon that cargo. But we’re excited because we feel like we’re a great option to move that throughout the country in a safe and efficient manner.
Golding added that with 3 to 4 years of experience a worker could make as much as $140,000 a year as a barge pilot.
A 2013 U.S. Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy study found that shale oil and natural gas development supports 2.1 million jobs. That number is expected to grow to 3.9 million by 2025.
With America’s energy abundance, energy can and should play an important role in helping to create jobs and grow our economy.