Recently Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm called America’s shale plays “Cowboyistan.”
“We’ve got more rigs running than in the rest of the world combined,” he told Forbes. “We’ve got highly trained and reliable rednecks to run them. And unlike anywhere else on the planet, we’ve got property rights, which enable landowners to lease out their acreage and receive royalties for their trouble. That’s what sets us apart.”
Despite Hamm’s exuberance, falling oil prices have become an issue. But Hamm says America’s oil boom “will slow, and stop, and retrench. And emerge stronger than ever,” reports Forbes.
The future will be what it will be. I suspect we’re in for some pain in the short run – here in North Dakota we’re due an update to the revenue forecast tomorrow that’s likely to be pretty ugly thanks to falling oil production – but that Hamm will be proved right in the long run.
In the mean time, we can look at the past several years for just how remarkable an impact the oil boom has had on the whole country. The chart above was created by Professor Mark Perry and compares job creation in Texas and North Dakota – “Cowboyistan”, if you will – versus the rest of the country.
“Based on today’s BLS report on state employment for January, there have been more than six jobs created in what Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm calls “Cowboyistan” (Texas and North Dakota) since December 2007 for every one job created in the other 48 states and the District of Columbia,” writes Perry.
That’s remarkable. In fact, I’d argue that one of the reasons why President Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012 was because the oil and gas industry – an industry he despises and has actively worked to undermine during his term in office – kept the economy from falling to more devastating lows.