Emerging energy industries have had varied impacts on local employment in rural areas

A chart showing the employment gains from the emergence of energy industries in selected regions and time periods.

In rural areas of the United States, expansion of three emerging energy industries—unconventional natural gas extraction, wind power development, and corn-based ethanol production—has led, on average, to net gains in local employment over the last decade. Natural gas development created a 12-percent increase in employment from 1999 to 2007 in select counties with increased drilling. In counties with some wind turbine installation, employment grew less than 1 percent from 2000 to 2008; counties adding an ethanol plant had a similar change. The share of total job growth contributed by each energy industry also varied, with natural gas development accounting for roughly half of the total employment growth for the typical gas-producing county. Because of the small change in overall employment in ethanol plant counties, the employment effect of the typical ethanol plant within closely-linked industries also represented a large share of employment growth (32 percent). This chart is found in the ERS report, Emerging Energy Industries and Rural Growth, ERR-159, November 2013.

Download higher resolution chart (939 pixels by 834, 150 dpi)