The NY Times offers something for everyone: Op-ed columnist David Brooks explains that fracking and the shale gas revolution will create jobs:
Already shale gas has produced more than half a million new jobs, not only in traditional areas like Texas but also in economically wounded places like western Pennsylvania and, soon, Ohio. If current trends continue, there are hundreds of thousands of new jobs to come.
The new columnist for the Times magazine explains how the energy sector won't provide jobs:
The federal government does something similar when it decides, for instance, to regulate oil drillers and subsidize windmill makers. Such a policy might help the environment but it just moves jobs from one sector to another without adding any. And while both Perry and Mitt Romney propose that further oil and gas drilling in the U.S. will transform the jobs picture, only 30,000 Americans work in oil and gas extraction, and about another 125,000 in support occupations. With more than 25 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, it’s unlikely that any changes in that part of the energy sector would make a real dent.
"Half a million" versus "30,000", with a further 125,000 in support. Baffling. This May 2010 BLS job survey may provide more detail than I can handle, since the meaning of many of the subcategories is unclear to me. However, I see a section for "Construction And Extraction Occupations" which includes Derrick, Rotary Drill and Service Unit Operators, and let's not overlook Roustabouts. Those four categories alone sum to 123,000; elsewhere I see twenty-eight thousand petroleum engineers and I have no doubt that civil engineers and others are involved with oil and gas production and distribution (not to mention the clerical support all around).
I don't want to use the word "wrong", but I doubt that the 30,000 or 125,000 figures could be substantiated.