This past October, the American economy created 204,000 jobs. Despite this, the unemployment rate is 7.3%. That means that there were 11.3 million Americans still not working. The number of Americans under-employed or not satisfied with their jobs is much, much higher. Clearly, we need more jobs in America.
While residential construction has slowly been turning the corner, we already found out the hard way that we can only build so many homes in America each year. That said, there is hope for our nation to still build our way out of our current unemployment mess. We just need some fuel to get the boom started. Enter America's natural gas boom, which is the fuel we need to send our economy booming again.
With nearly a century of reserves, it's fueling a cost advantage to bring manufacturing back in America. As that happens, the manufacturing sector has the potential to overflow with jobs in the decades ahead. That is only the beginning.
The reason for this is quite simple, jobs beget jobs. According to America's Energy Advantage, for every manufacturing job we create five more support and network jobs are created. That means that there is an avalanche of employment opportunities thanks to America's natural gas boom.
Some suggest the boom could create a million new jobs in the energy sector by 2017 and have our nation energy self-sufficient just three years later. It has the potential to add $348 billion, or 2% to our GDP while at the same time reviving hard-hit manufacturing communities. Companies like Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) are investing billions to build petrochemical manufacturing facilities here in the U.S. Overall, Dow Chemical sees 108 energy-intensive projects totaling more than $100 billion worth of investment all possible because of American natural gas.
A manufacturing revival is just one sector where natural gas has the power to fuel employment growth. Because we have such a large supply of natural gas and it's selling at such a discount to world markets, many companies are looking to export our excess gas.
America's Energy Advantage and its supporters like Dow Chemical see unabated exports hurting the manufacturing renaissance. However, the massive liquefied natural gas export terminal projects will create a lot of future jobs. According to a study funded by the American Petroleum Institute, direct and indirect employment from natural gas exports could create anywhere from 30,431 to 122,462 direct and indirect jobs by 2035. Further, the induced jobs created could be as much as 665,000 over that period.
The exact numbers are open to debate and will be fueled by the number of projects that eventually are approved. So far just four of the 21 proposed projects have been approved. It's highly unlikely, and not in our best interests, that all 21 projects will be approved. That said, the ones that have been approved are creating jobs. For example, Cheneire Energy's (NYSEMKT:LNG) Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project currently supports about 3,300 construction jobs and at its peak will employ 4,500 construction workers. Further, the Cheniere Energy facility will eventually require 200 operations jobs to be filled to support the facility. Another project, Dominion Resources' (NYSE:D) Cove Point Liquefaction project, will create 180 operations jobs and more than 4,000 construction jobs.
While these numbers sound small when compared to America's employment problem, that's only because they just represent a small part of the equation. Many more jobs will be created as companies like Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) drill for natural gas. Unfortunately, current low gas prices forced Chesapeake Energy to lay off about 10% of its workforce this year.
However, as we use more natural gas, and the economics of drilling improve, it will fuel the creation of jobs both directly and indirectly in areas such as transport, manufacturing, construction and everything else related to getting the natural gas from deep underground sources to consumers both here in America and abroad. We're talking about more than a million new jobs required to directly support the industry, which isn't counting the countless induced jobs that will be created along the way.
America stands at the forefront of a boom few saw coming. Natural gas is just the fuel we need to create the next boom in jobs. It will create direct jobs to support the drilling, construction jobs to support its exportation and manufacturing jobs at heavy users that are able to take advantage of our cost and supply advantage.
Learn more about America's energy boom
Fool contributor Matt DiLallo has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Dominion Resources. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.