Promise of manufacturing job boost remains far off

Posted: Apr 3, 2013

Written by

Nelson Schwartz, New York Times

Oil industry groups have claimed that more natural gas drilling will help manufacturing jobs rebound in the United States, but it may take years for that to happen.

If more land were opened to oil and gas exploration -- especially for hydraulic fracturing -- oil production would increase, the industry says. Jobs in other industries would increase because cheaper energy would be available.

A study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Association of Manufacturers predicts that hydraulic fracturing could help create 1 million U.S. manufacturing jobs by 2025.

"It definitely is a game changer for the United States," said Chad Moutray, chief economist at the National Association of Manufacturers. "It puts us in a position that we might have been in a couple of years ago."

Since the recession ended, the sector has created 500,000 jobs. But overall, manufacturing jobs are still down by about 2 million since 2007.

"It's not going to happen as fast as a lot of people think, and it will be selective," said Stephen Maurer, manufacturing practice head for the consulting firm AlixPartners. "It's going to be a long, slow climb back."

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