As gas prices reach record highs across many parts of the country, Americans have been blaming oil companies. But as much as they are disliked, the oil and gas industry is also an indispensable part of many states and an asset to their local economies. 24/7 Wall St. has identified the 10 states with the most oil reserves, or the estimated amount of oil in the state, and examined the effects that the industry has on their economies.
In the states with the greatest amounts of oil reserves, those effects can be tremendous. The oil and natural gas industry supports nearly 25% of the economies of Texas and Wyoming, much more than the 6.8% it supports on a national scale. Every state on this list exceeds the national number by a significant amount.
The oil and gas industry also can have an outsized impact on employment in some states. On a national level, only 4.6% of all jobs are attributable to the operations of the oil and gas industry, directly or indirectly. In many states, the industry’s impact on employment is significantly higher. In five states, all of which are included on this list, the industry supports more than 10% of all jobs.
While it is not necessarily the cause, the states with the most oil reserves generally have particularly strong economies. Six of the 10 states with the most reserves have among the lowest unemployment rates in the country; seven had the smallest increases in the unemployment rate from 2004 to 2010; and eight of the states had the largest increases in median household income from 2005 to 2010.
To identify the states with the most oil reserves, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. We also examined data from the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Petroleum Institute.
These are the 10 states swimming in oil.