Manufacturing Getting Boost From Natural Gas

Jan 30, 2017

Manufacturing SocialManufacturers around the country are seeing increased activity in their sector – and they're pointing squarely at domestic production of natural gas as the primary driver behind the rise.

In a January "Letter to the Editor", the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association -- wrote:

Throughout the commonwealth, natural gas is driving a manufacturing revival that's creating good-paying jobs and boosting local economies. 

The signs tell the story of "workers needed". In McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Dura-Bond Industries is preparing to restart the currently idled U.S. Steel McKeesport mill.  According to a recent report in Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette:

Jason Norris (Dura-Bond president) said at least 100 workers will be needed to restart the plant, which was idled by U.S. Steel in 2014.

Our focus is going to be a domestic mill using domestic feedstock…There is renewed optimism in the country for domestic manufacturing.”

Energy In Depth is reporting that information released this week in the Plastics Industry Association's 2016 Size & Impact Report shows a clear correlation between growth in manufacturing and the energy industry.  According to the EID report:

...plastics industry employment was up nearly 10 percent in 2015 from its 2008 lows; and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) is currently tracking 560 plastic manufacturing investments in expansion or new construction nationwide. reports that “the development of shale gas feedstocks in the United States” is one of the three reasons the plastics industry is seeing this success.

A recent article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article describes natural gas as “the most important contributor to America’s industrial renaissance.”

The author, Southern Methodist University Professor of Business Economics Bernard Weinstein goes on to write:

Energy-intensive manufacturing industries have also benefited from cheap shale gas that is used both for power generation and as a feedstock.

Weinstein points to the production of domestic energy as a key factor in the resurgence of steel in West Virginia and Ohio, and goes on to suggest that with America’s overall factory capacity utilization rate at only 75 percent, there is plenty of room for additional workers if current trends continue and demand continues to increase. 

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