Natural gas from shale is transforming the chemical industry by providing a competitive edge in the global economy that has translated into increased output and tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.
A recent ACC study (Shale Gas, Competitiveness and New U.S. Investment: A Case Study of Eight Manufacturing Industries) concluded that the economic benefits of bountiful and secure sources of natural gas extend across a broad range of U.S. manufacturers. ACC analyzed the effects of renewed competitiveness and the supply response on eight key U.S. manufacturing sectors.
The ACC study found that increased natural gas production could:
- Create 1.2 million new manufacturing jobs, which include 200,000 direct jobs, 462,000 indirect jobs (through the supply chain), and 516,000 induced jobs (household spending of workers making and installing equipment);
- Put $70 billion in the wallets of workers in new payroll;
- Generate $121 billion in increased output among these eight industries;
- Provide federal, state and local governments with $26 billion in additional tax revenue.
The increase in economic activity would constitute a 7.3 percent gain above what output would be otherwise in the 2015-2020 period, according to the study.
All key sectors of U.S. manufacturing, the eight industries — chemicals, aluminum, fabricated metal products, foundries, glass, iron and steel, paper, and plastic and rubber products — are large consumers of natural gas used for fuel and power.
Natural gas is especially important to chemical manufacturers, who rely on the ethane in natural gas as a feedstock to make the ingredients that go into nearly 96 percent of all domestically manufactured goods.
ACC’s recent study builds on a 2011 study that showed a modest increase in natural gas supply from shale would generate more than 400,000 new jobs in the U.S. petrochemical industry alone and boost the nation’s economic activity by more than $132 billion.