This year there has been a nearly continuous stream of good news about shale development in Texas and its positive effect on the economy in our area. In March 2013, the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Center for Community Business and Research issued its annual report on the Eagle Ford shale and its impact in south Texas.
The report stated that the Eagle Ford has resulted in more than $61 billion added to the Texas economy in 2012, and supported 116,000 full time jobs in the oil and gas sector. This is an impressive jump from the previous year, when the previous report from the Center at UTSA found that the Eagle Ford had contributed $25 billion and supported 47,000 full time jobs in 2011. For long term growth, the researchers expect $89 billion in growth annually and 127,000 jobs added by 2022.
This year, UTSA’s report was based on information from 14 oil and gas producing counties as well as six counties that are used as staging areas for the oil and gas sector. In these areas, home sales and home values have risen sharply. The manager of a home development company south of San Antonio said that two-thirds of their business comes from people relocating to work in Eagle Ford shale jobs. Hotels have also seen a big boom in business all around the area, with four new hotels opening in just 18 months.
The industry itself is clearly expanding rapidly. South Texas is already one of the most important oil producing regions in the U.S., increasing its production seven fold between 2011 and 2013. In 2008, only 26 drilling permits were issued in the Eagle Ford area by the Texas Railroad Commission. In 2012, 4,145 permits were issued. There were 40 producing oil wells in 2009 and 67 gas wells in 2008. That has increased to 1,262 oil wells in 2012 and 855 gas wells in 2011.
There are so many job opportunities that maintaining the manpower and skilled labor to fill all of these jobs in the Eagle Ford is actually a challenge. The lack of sufficient local employees means that transient workers are moving in, which affects the housing shortage. Keep in mind that these are high wage jobs. The average oil and gas industry worker in this area earned $117,000 in 2011, which was already on average 18% higher than just one year before. This is at a time when the national unemployment rate is around 7% according to the federal government and probably more like 15% in reality.
All of this bodes very well for 2013. The numbers for this year will probably show a continuation of the impressive growth, which is good news for everyone in south Texas.
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