Natural gas exploration in the Marcellus shale formation has created just over 45,000 construction jobs, a new study has concluded.
The study looked at a 13 trades related to natural gas exploration from 2008 through the first half of 2014.
It was commissioned by the Oil and Natural Gas Industry Labor-Management Committee, a coalition of labor and industry interests in oil and gas.
“A preliminary examination of employment data in states related to the Marcellus Shale Play … reveals that natural gas exploration has been a strong engine of job growth,” the researchers with the University of Illinois concluded.
The figures are based on actual hours worked in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio, assuming 1,600 hours in a year for a worker.
The American Petroleum Institute said it welcomed the research.
“This study reaffirms that responsible domestic energy production is fueling our economic recovery,” API Executive Vice President Louis Finkel said in a statement.
“We need to fully embrace this energy renaissance and develop the affordable reliable energy all Americans need and want,” he said.
The boom in Marcellus shale production came in recent years thanks to the rapid expansion of unconventional drilling techniques like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
It has led to historically high natural gas production for the United States and turned the country into a net exporter of gas.