“Washington’s not talking about this; the biggest revolution equal to the internet is…energy independence in the United States. The cheap natural gas is going to basically allow us to re-shore manufacturing.”
That’s what Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to say on CNBC this morning when asked about the resurgence of manufacturing in America. Spot on, Mr. Mayor. Thanks to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, shale production has revitalized American manufacturing in just a few short years. This has created thousands of jobs that, just a short while ago, were being shipped overseas. These opportunities are now returning to the United States – including right here in Illinois – as an abundance of affordable natural gas keeps operating costs lower than our foreign competitors.
The products of responsible shale development are affecting an array of industries across the nation, all the while creating much-needed jobs for hardworking Americans. A recent report from the American Chemistry Council anticipates that 500,000 permanent jobs from chemicals and plastics expansions can be expected by 2020. Meanwhile, this past summer, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) visited communities in Ohio with similar geography and demographics to find out what the real impact of shale development would bring to their communities. The answer: booming businesses, new jobs and increased local revenue.
The DCEO’s report meshes with the findings of a recent economic study from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce (ICC). That report found that shale development could create more than 45,000 jobs and $9 billion in economic development in Illinois. In a news release about the study, President and CEO of the ICC, Doug Whitley, states, “As we look at possible economic engines that could propel Illinois’ economy for decades to come, we need to look no further than the potential for increased natural gas production.”
Fortunately for Illinois and the rest of the United States, the job-creating machine of shale development is only starting. Production of oil and natural gas from shale continues to skyrocket, and it has no signs of slowing down anytime soon. That’s good for the United States, but especially for Illinois, where a multi-billion-dollar manufacturing industry is fueled by affordable and reliable energy.