One of the biggest economic stories relating to U.S. shale development is the rebirth of domestic manufacturing. Abundant and affordable supplies of natural gas and its associated liquids, which manufacturers use as a feedstock for the products they create, have made the United States one of the lowest cost countries in which companies can invest.
Ten years ago, manufacturers were abandoning the United States and shifting their investments overseas, including to the Middle East, to take advantage of lower cost energy supplies. American men and women lost their jobs, and U.S. facilities were abandoned. Thankfully, shale development has helped reverse that trend — and now, manufacturers can’t afford not to make their investments here in America.
What does this mean for the United States? Several things, actually.
In addition to being one of our proudest industries, manufacturing operations provide significant job opportunities for hardworking Americans. By at least one estimate, this increased investment in the United States will create more than 500,000 new jobs all across the country. From new fertilizer plants in Iowa and the Dakotas, to new plastics facilities along the Gulf Coast, to new and expanded steel facilities in the Rust Belt, shale development is helping us produce more of the goods that our economy needs to grow.
The total investment has been pegged at about $80 billion, although some estimates have suggested the number is more than $100 billion. Regardless of the exact figure, the facts are clear: the affordable energy that shale development has provided has not only given us lower energy bills and cleaner power, as President Obama has said, but also positioned the United States for significant manufacturing growth, reversing more than a decade of decline.
You can download EID’s latest infographic — Shale Brings Manufacturing Back Home — by clicking here.