For about a decade, natural gas production has been a key driver of new jobs and business growth in the state, and the impact on small companies is noteworthy. In our most recent report, the Small Business Entrepreneurship Council found that the natural gas boom brought a disproportionately positive impact on small and medium sized businesses, which make up an overwhelming majority of the nation’s—and Pennsylvania’s—energy sector. The next logical step is to open new markets by exporting natural gas to energy hungry countries. Between 2005 and 2012, Pennsylvania experienced an extraordinary 1,239.3 percent increase in natural production, which contributed significantly to the state’s economy. Employers during this timeframe added 86,566 jobs, with 18,033 of those jobs occurring in five energy sectors. One in five jobs were created by the natural-gas-related industries of extraction, drilling, support services, pipeline and related structured construction and field machinery manufacturing. The rate of employment growth in these sectors over this period ranged from 37 percent to 512 percent, while U.S. total employment actually declined.The number of business establishments in the state grew as well, while the number of U.S. businesses declined. With Pennsylvania’s key energy sectors leading the way, most of this tremendous growth was concentrated among smaller businesses.A common misperception is that dividends from natural gas production go straight to so-called “Big Energy.” However, our report has found the exact opposite to be true.
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