Jobs & Economic Impact

Key Takeaways

  • Pipeline development, maintenance and operations provides over a million direct, indirect and induced jobs.
  • Continued infrastructure development could generate nearly a million additional jobs each year.
  • Operations and development of infrastructure also provides immense economic benefits to state and local communities through tax revenues.

How many pipeline jobs are there in the U.S?

Natural gas and oil pipeline development has far-reaching benefits across the entire U.S. economy. Between 2013 and 2016, pipeline infrastructure supported nearly 1.2 million direct, indirect and induced jobs and provided nearly 400,000 direct jobs in pipeline construction, operations, and maintenance in 2019. Indirect jobs may include pipeline support services like welding and steel manufacturing. Overall, the natural gas and oil industry supports 11.3 million full- and part-time jobs, accounting for nearly 6% of the total US employment in 2019.

For example, a single major pipeline construction project can generate over 42,000 jobs paying over $2 billion in salaries for workers and their families. Good-paying construction, manufacturing, transportation, and refining jobs are all dependent on pipelines. Pipeline jobs can support a middle-class income or higher, provide healthcare and give families the ability to save for the future.

Through 2035, investment in infrastructure will contribute between $79 and $100 billion annually to U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). During the same period, infrastructure development alone will support an average of 828,000 to 1.05 million jobs each year in the U.S., with operations and maintenance positions adding hundreds of thousands more. Significant jobs are created not only within states where infrastructure development occurs, but across all states because of indirect and induced labor impacts.

Additional pipelines will need to be built to transport low carbon energy products and facilitate the energy transition. Large-scale networks of carbon dioxide and hydrogen pipelines are needed to meet national and global emissions reduction goals. Currently there are only 1,600 miles of pure hydrogen pipelines in the U.S. According to a recent study, if hydrogen incentives are distributed evenly, there could be a need for 67,000 miles of hydrogen transmission pipelines and 500,000 miles of customer laterals by 2050. Additional analysis estimates that about 16,000 miles of CO2 transmission pipelines and over 50,000 miles of laterals could be needed by 2050. The reports estimate the average capital investment needed to construct the hydrogen and carbon dioxide transmission system would be $11.3 billion per year, which could support over 150,000 jobs annually. Where possible, pipeline operators are also looking into opportunities to convert traditional oil and natural gas pipelines into carbon dioxide or hydrogen service to optimize these innovations and bring low carbon infrastructure online quickly and safely. Research suggests that adapting existing natural gas pipelines to allow higher blends of hydrogen may provide cost-savings incentives with the additional benefits of reducing the life-cycle emissions of natural gas infrastructure, limiting environmental impact, and reducing potential permitting and right of way delays so energy molecules can get to consumers faster.

pipelines provide jobs

Federal taxes related to oil and gas infrastructure development will total $304 to $386 billion, while state taxes will total $236 to $299 billion throughout 2035. All states benefit from infrastructure development as there are indirect and induced employment benefits spread to states even where there is no infrastructure development.

Learn how pipeline companies provide quality, good-paying jobs for generations of Americans throughout the country.

Veterans in the Workforce

Veterans come to the civilian workforce with extensive technical and nontechnical skills gained through military experience and training. Many of these skills have direct applicability to the oil and natural gas industry, making it an ideal industry for transitioning service members and veterans.

Pipeline operations, maintenance and development provide high-paying jobs for skilled laborers.

Over the last several years, the number of veterans working in the oil and natural gas and petrochemical industries has grown. These veterans are diverse, with thousands of female and minority veterans filling positions in all sectors of the industry and across all regions of the country.

Although the challenge of translating military skills to civilian occupations can be daunting for both veterans and hiring managers, the Veterans Energy Pipeline serves as an online tool that pairs veterans with oil and gas occupations aligned with their skills and experiences. The tool also shows where there may be gaps in needed skills to connect veterans with ways to supplement their skills with additional education and training that may be required for available positions.

Learn more about oil and natural gas jobs at Oil & Gas Workforce, an online portal that connects you with opportunities for jobs, education, certification and training in the industry.