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Energy-Rich States Growing U.S. Economy, Shifting Global Balance

States with plentiful energy resources exhibited the fastest rates of economic growth last year; nationwide growth in energy-related jobs was more than twice the national average of overall job growth.

Q3 2014
According to data released in late August by the Commerce Department, energy-rich states saw the fastest economic growth in late 2013, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Among these energy-rich states, North Dakota and Wyoming both experienced 8.4 percent GDP growth in Q4 2013; West Virginia, 7.5 percent; and Louisiana, 5.4 percent. Developing shale through the use of hydraulic fracturing is taking place in all four of these states.

Speakers at an IHS CERAWeek energy conference held this past spring noted that the United States holds ample reserves of natural gas to help supply rising world gas demand, particularly for gas-fired electric power generation in Asia. “It’s clear that no country has found greater opportunity in recent years than the United States,” Joe Kaeser, Siemens AG president and CEO, told the conference attendees. “The U.S. will most likely become the world’s largest oil and gas producer this year. That’s affordability, availability, and sustainability all in one.”

Interestingly, the amount of crude oil and refined petroleum products moved by U.S. railroads increased 9 percent during the first seven months of this year compared with the same period in 2013, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The increase in oil volumes transported by rail reflects the rising U.S. crude oil production, which reached an estimated 8.5 million barrels per day in June for the first time since July 1986. The Bakken Shale, primarily in North Dakota, has provided a significant share of the total increase in U.S. oil production over the past three years. North Dakota, now the second-largest oil producing state after Texas, provides nearly one out of every eight barrels of U.S.-produced oil.

Siemens’ Kaeser further noted that an abundance of shale gas has reshaped advantages that the U.S .can offer the global economy: “I believe we are witnessing, and participating in, the reindustrialization of the United States, and I think it’s fair to say that the development of horizontal drilling may have been the biggest shift of balance in the global economy since China jointed the World Trade Organization.”

More good news for the U.S.: According to JLL’s 2014 Energy Outlook for North America, there are approximately 1.5 million energy-related jobs in the United States. Energy is among the fastest-growing industries, up 10.7 percent over the past five years, and the rate of energy job growth is 2.5 times faster than the national average during the same time period, says the JLL report. Furthermore, through 2020, JLL predicts energy-related employment will increase by another 5 percent, not including auxiliary services and jobs supported through expansion in the energy industry.

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