Report finds oil, gas industry supports over 70,000 jobs in WV

CHARLESTON - According to a Pricewaterhouse Coopers report released this week, West Virginia's natural gas and oil industry supported 70,900 direct and indirect jobs and added $8 billion to the state economy in 2015, the most recent year for which a consistent set of national and state-level data by industry are currently available.

Additionally, the report found that West Virginia ranks 8th nationally in terms of the number of workers supported by the industry as a percentage of all employment, according to Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association.

"This is impactful information and validates what the West Virginia oil and natural gas industry has known for some time: that this industry is an economic driver for the state and its citizens," Blankenship said.

The report, "Impacts of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry on the US Economy in 2015," conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, found that West Virginia's oil and natural gas industry directly - excluding indirect figures - employed 38,200 workers, accounted for direct labor income of over $2 billion and generated $5.4 billion of value added in the state economy.

"Production continues to increase in the Mountain State and with some needed policy changes at the state level, we fully anticipate even greater impact in the years to come," Blankenship added. "This industry's ripple effect - in terms of jobs, community support, tax base, etc. - is becoming more like a tidal wave, and we're proud to play a part in moving West Virginia forward."

Nationally, the natural gas and oil industry supported 10.3 million U.S. jobs and added $1.3 trillion to the nation's economy in 2015, according to the report. The report stated the average wage paid by the natural gas and oil industry, excluding retail station jobs, in 2016 was $101,181, which is nearly 90 percent more than the national average.

This article appeared in the Huntington Herald Dispatch. Click here to read it on the publication's website.