New White House Report: Natural Gas Sparks American Manufacturing Revival

Driven by the safe development of natural gas , American manufacturing is making a comeback and creating good-paying jobs, a new White House report confirms. Thanks to shale,  domestic manufacturers have regained the competitive edge in the global marketplace that’s encouraging job-creating investments here at home.

While Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently told a congressional committee that “the U.S. is also now the number one producer of natural gas in the world,” this new report specifically credits natural gas with America’s manufacturing rebound. From the report: “The surge in American natural gas production has lowered energy costs for manufacturers and driven job growth.” In fact, manufacturing has grown at nearly twice the pace of the economy since 2009 when America’s shale revolution began, the report states.

Key White House report findings:

  • Thanks to shale, “U.S. Manufacturing’s Recovery has Been Strong”: “Since the Great Recession, manufacturing has grown at nearly twice the pace of the economy overall, marking the longest period where manufacturing has outpaced U.S. economic output in fifty years.” (p. 3)
  • Competitive advantage: “U.S.-based manufacturers currently enjoy a competitive advantage from affordable natural gas.” (p. 27)
  • Energy savings: “U.S. direct manufacturing production costs compare favorably to other advanced economies, particularly due to the high productivity of American workers and the low energy costs as a result of abundant natural gas.” (p. 14)
  • Natural gas has “driven job growth”: “The surge in American natural gas production has lowered energy costs for manufacturers and driven job growth.” (p. 27)
  • Job-creating investment: “Recent analysis estimates that industrial sector consumers of natural gas were better off by about $22 billion between 2007 and 2013 due to abundant, inexpensive shale gas. That is an important part of why companies have announced tens of billions in new capital commitments in energy intensive manufacturing facilities that will come on line in the years ahead.” (p. 27)

And we’re already witnessing shale’s manufacturing-related benefits here in our region. Pa. Manufacturers’ Association David Taylor told the Pittsburgh Business Times that “natural gas is the best opportunity Pennsylvania has to expand and develop manufacturing here.”

MSC’s Dave Spigelmyer joined with Washington Co. Chamber of Commerce’s Jeff Kotula in a Sunday Observer-Reporter column highlighting this significant and positive progress.

“That’s right – Donora, Washington Co., and our broader region’s access to affordable homegrown natural gas is creating a competitive edge for manufacturers that’s spurring new investment and good-paying jobs. Donora’s positive progress and the many other regional Marcellus Shale-related manufacturing comeback stories are worth celebrating as we mark the recent national Manufacturing Day. … Thanks to Pa.’s record-breaking natural gas production, manufacturers have access to these energy supplies – as well as a second-to-none skilled workforce – and are eyeing Western Pa. to expand and grow jobs.”

Whether in western Pa. with Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker plant investment that’ll create 6,000 construction jobs – mostly for regional labor unions – and 600 permanent jobs once complete, or in the Philadelphia region with the rebirth of Marcus Hook, which the Delaware County Daily Times recently reported is a “Shale-Lelujah” for the local economy, natural gas is positively transforming Pa.’s manufacturing sector.

For more details on our region’s shale-driven manufacturing renaissance, visit our blog and connect with the MSC on Facebook and Twitter.