All manufacturing is not equal and we’re not going to see a revival of it that actually produces good jobs unless we focus on oil and natural gas, the one bright sector of the economy producing both blue and white-collar employment.
I keep hearing arguments that jobs are returning from foreign countries back to America’s soil but I don’t hear too many people explaining why we’re still falling behind or acknowledging the one thing that is actually working – oil and natural gas development.
Self-serving politicians are always always out there touting their schemes for bringing back those American jobs previously lost to countries such as China, Mexico and Taiwan. Economic recovery, and all those green jobs, are always just around the bend if we’ll be patient, they say. Our economy will be picking up soon so we don’t need really need all those oil and natural gas jobs, they say. But is this true?
Looking at the real evidence, and after watching the 60 Minutes segment on the success of robotics in the American job force that is not the way I see it. What are our children going to do for work, as these machines all but have a beating heart? Who will survive in America as we yield to technology in the name of the almighty dollar?Outside of the health care field where millions will be needed to tend to the needs of us aging baby-boomers, the American workforce often seems to an endangered species. There is one other industry that is doing well, however, and it is doing very well. It is the oil and natural gas industry but my state, New York, is, very sadly, ignoring it.
If you watched that 60 Minutes segment, then you now have a sense of what I’m talking about. President Obama says his administration has resurrected manufacturing in this country. He claims facilities are returning to American soil in an about-face of what we have seen since the North America Free trade Act (NAFTA) was enacted.
Yet, the job market remains pitiful except for that one one bright spot in oil and gas. One of the reasons is robots. As stated in the television segment, one robot replaces as many as two and one-half employees and the cost per robot is a mere $3.85 cents an hour. Unless you’re a robot manufacturer or designer, that doesn’t offer much in the way of employment. All manufacturing is not equal.
Technology, nonetheless, is a great thing and has allowed us to live longer, while enjoying a enhanced quality of life. It also creates jobs – different sorts of jobs. But, as ATM’s have replaced humans, and manufacturers and warehouses replace human workers with robots, we must also realize many more jobs in the United States will soon disappear to technological advancement and we need to replace them. I don’t know about you but me… I have 11 grandchildren with more on the way the oldest being eleven. What is in store for them? How will they survive when they are not needed, if we don’t change with times and go where opportunity leads us?
While oil and natural gas can’t completely solve this problem, it is a major part of the answer and it’s right there in front of us right now, saving what there this is to this moribund economy. We should be grabbing it with both hands and pulling it to us. Unparalleled opportunity is staring us in the face. Just this week, NPR, for instance, noted a graduate in petroleum engineering can earn $110,000 per year right of college. Now that’s opportunity! That’s a real job and it’s an example of technology creating employment, not destroying it. Technology employed by Cabot Oil & Gas and others that use natural gas to develop natural gas (see the hydraulic fracturing unit below, which is powered by natural gas) is also creating jobs and a cleaner environment.
We see the opportunity across the border in Pennsylvania and other recent studies show oil and natural gas development is making a huge difference throughout the nation adding $1,200 per year to household income, offering the one solid piece of economic news there is to counter all those negatives and those robots. Additionally, oil and gas is the one sector of the economy where technology is creating both blue and white-collar jobs and at a rapid pace. Any success in the revival of American manufacturing of the sort we are all seeking isn’t to be found in green jobs or robots but, rather, in the oil and natural gas that is right beneath us.
Yet, we hear a constant parade of comments from the anti-development side to the effect that “we don’t need jobs offered by the drilling industry because America’s economy is on the rebound,” or “what’s the hurry to drill… it’s been down there a million years…lets wait.” I say this; wait for what? Until someone else owns my land because I haven’t been able to hold onto it? Someone like those folks from the NRDC who live off the wealth of their ancestors and want to grab up as much of the Catskills as they can as our upstate economy collapses and land prices decline? I’m sure they’ll favor natural gas drilling once they own it and they can wait, but the rest of us can’t. Let’s develop our natural gas now, while it’s still ours.