Upward Income Mobility & Shale Production: A Causal Connection? [Part 4]

Cody Davis

Economic Successes beyond North Dakota

Although upward income mobility statistics relative to other shale regions were not quite as impressive as North Dakota (which should be expected considering the state’s booming economic successes), other well-known oil and gas producing regions in Texas, California Wyoming and Utah also had higher levels of upward income mobility.

Moreover, IHS has already determined that every state, regardless of its capacity for natural resource production, is benefitting from job growth and tax revenues by the oil and gas industry.

In fact, the oil and gas industry has become the top job creating sector in the U.S. and is providing workers with higher-paying jobs. The average salary of oil and gas workers, with the exception of gas station employees, is approximately $93,000 – well above the average private sector wage.

Furthermore, employment growthin the oil and gas industry from the beginning of 2007 through the end of 2012 experienced a 40 percent increase. Meanwhile, total U.S. private sector employment only increased by one percent during this same period.

A Spurious Correlation?

Despite the benefits oil and natural gas production is providing both states and local communities, the factors affecting upward income mobility are far from being fully evaluated.

Is proximity to shale oil fields a primary factor in a child’s ability to climb the social stratification ladder, or is this theory simply a spurious connection?