While the government has been spending billions of dollars to produce a handful of sickly green jobs without much staying power, a veritable gusher of ‘brown’ jobs in traditional mining and energy extractive industries is on the brink of rejuvenating the American economy.That at least is what Joel Kotkin and his associates have discovered. Looking at where the new jobs are and where the jobs are good, Kotkin et. al report that the economic sector responsible for both the fastest rate of new job creation and the best paying jobs is right where Greenpeace doesn’t want it to be: mining coal, frakking gas, and pumping oil.The much despised brown jobs sector grew by 58% in the years after 2006 when economic growth as a whole slowed, Kotkin finds, creating more than half a million new jobs, and this is one of the best paying sectors in the economy, with average annual wages of more than $100,000 a year.The brown job revolution has the potential to revive midwestern states like Ohio and Michigan with significant new energy finds opening doors to both energy jobs and a manufacturing revival.
Ohio now has over 64,000 wells, with five hundred drilled just year [sic]. Recent and potential finds, particularly in the Appalachian basin, could transform the Buckeye State into something of a Midwest Abu Dhabi, creating more than 200,000 jobs over the next decade. The new finds could also help Ohio fund its depleted state coffers without imposing either debilitating budget cuts or economically self defeating new taxes.The energy boom also has sparked a spate of new factory expansions, including a $650 million new steel mill to make pipes for gas pipelines. Other local firms are gearing up to make up specialized equipment like compressors.Michigan, another perennially hard hit state, is also looking at new energy finds to turbocharge its gradually recovering industrial sector. While risible former Gov. Jennifer Granholm pushed the notion that Michigan’s recovery lay in “cool cities” and green jobs, the state’s current leaders are focusing on more down-to-earth — and under-the-earth — solutions as part of a strategy to revive industrial production.
Read the whole thing; the American future looks much, much brighter than grumpy greens and dejected declinists would have you believe.