“All of the job growth from 2007 to today can easily be attributed to the shale oil fracking situation and the oil Renaissance. If you take Texas and North Dakota out of the data series for job employment, what you see is that we haven’t added any jobs in the United States other than those two regions.”
The comment above by famed bond investor Jeff Gundlach during a conference call last week set off a firestorm, repeating a trope that has been gaining traction in some quarters. The claim is that all the job creation in this economic recovery is related to the surge in oil and natural-gas fracking. This is demonstrably false.
There have been variations on this theme floating around for a few years. To get the basic claim to work, you need to accept two flawed analyses. The first is that all net job growth in the U.S. since 2007 is the result of the energy and related industries. The second is that, absent Texas, the rest of the country lost jobs.
The reports on which these claims are based are biased and full of analytical errors. Making matters worse, they both come from think tanks that specialize in slanted economic analysis. As the saying goes, torture the data long enough and it will confess to anything.
Let’s begin with a few facts: There are now 118.4 million U.S. workers in private-sector jobs. The economy lost a lot of jobs during the Great Recession, and it wasn’t until 2010 that we began adding to the nonfarm payroll numbers. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, more than 10 million jobs have been created since the end of 2010.
What about all of the oil and fracking jobs?