Tuesday, March 27, 2012

U.S. Census Bureau Report Puts Mining Sector Into Top Growth Arena

In a five-year period the U.S. Census Bureau focused on with a recent economic report, it was a very unusual suspect that managed to find its way to the top of the growth list.

According to the report, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction are the fastest-growing sectors of the nation’s economy. The federal agency publishes an economic census every five years. This report examines national data from the year 2012. The previous economic census looked at 2007, which was before the recession hit.

What has changed most dramatically since the recession hit has been the sudden boom in shale oil and gas exploration, drilling and energy production. U.S. Census Bureau statistician Andrew Hait said, “In that five year period, this sector grew by 26.4%. More than half of that big increase in that entire sector was in the oil and gas sub-sector.”

The U.S. mining sector showed the highest percent increase in the value of its products, according to the Census Bureau. The sector is up about 33% or about $141.6 billion. The situation clearly exists that the big boom in oil production has pushed volume increases that equal revenue increases; however, mining has actually shrunk to some degree in its volume, but he value of the materials have skyrocketed.

The report also shows a 27% increase in the number of oil and gas jobs nationally, 191,580 for the year 2012. “There were about 41,000 more people working in the oil and gas industry in 2012 than there were in 2007,” says Hait.

When one dives deep and looks at the numbers, specifically focusing on the increase, the lion’s share of that big number is in the oil and gas extraction sub-sector. “We’re curious to see how this increase was distributed. We know Pennsylvania, Texas, Oklahoma and other states are very strong in this industry.”

Later this year the Census Bureau plans to begin releasing a series of more detailed economic reports, broken down by state, county, and city. These reports will put much of the growth into perspective as real growth can be measured in variables such as new job added, median income, GNP for a state in that sector and true revenues being taxed in that state.

For states that have been at the forefront of the Mining increases, states such as Colorado and Wyoming, mining growth is a reality, as investments are being made to further the industry in those regions. However, in states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia, states hit hard by the collapse of the coal mining industry over the years, there is little that can be said to convince them that mining is a growing sector — at least until the jobs and the volume revenue return.