The coal mining workforce has declined since 2009, but employment in the nation's oil and natural gas extraction industry -- including support services -- grew by 6%, from 369,691 workers to 392,869 total jobs, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
DOE's Second Annual National Energy Employment Analysis found that natural gas power generation workers accounted for 47% of all fossil fuel electric generation employment. And natural gas-fueled power has grown, too. The technology has grown from being 816,441 thousand MWh of utility-scale net generation in 2006 to 1,087,236 thousand MWh -- a 33% increase between 2006 and September 2016.
Natural gas electric generation employs 88,242 workers, or 47% of all fossil fuel generation employment; this is more than coal generation (86,035 workers), and represents far more workers than oil generation technologies (12,840), according to DOE.
Gas-fueled power generators expect flat employment growth over the next 12 months, reporting projected growth of just 1%, the report said.
Natural gas fuels are the second-largest category of employment behind petroleum. This subsector supports 309,993 jobs, accounting for three in 10 workers in the fuels sector. Together, natural gas generation and fuels support 398,235 jobs across the country. The majority of employment is found in mining and extraction, followed by utilities and wholesale trade.
And when it comes to employees, natural gas-fueled generation is slightly more diverse than the fuels sector. Almost four in 10 workers in natural gas electricity generation are female, and 15% are Hispanic or Latino. The fuels sector also has a higher proportion of workers who are 55 or older (24%), while generation has more unionized workers (14%).