Energy Boom Begins to Ripple Through US Economy

From CNBC News

By John W. Schoen

The boom in new oil and natural gas flowing through U.S. pipelines is beginning to ripple through the wider American economy.

Just ask Edrick Smith.

In September, Smith traded temp agency jobs for full-time employment with Baltimore-based Marlin Steel Wire Products, which makes wire baskets for industrial customers. An experienced machinist, Smith is now expanding his skills by learning to set up and operate factory robots.

“Knowing each and every machine in here gives me an opportunity to make good money, and to educate myself more,” he said. “This is my career.”

Smith’s hiring was just one of thousands of openings created indirectly by a new boom in domestic oil and natural gas drilling – a bounty so rich that it has even caught energy industry insiders by surprise. In part 2 of our four-part “Power Shift” special report, we examine how the explosion in drilling in places like North Dakota and West Texas is spreading through the general economy – despite controversy over the potential environmental impact of the new industry practices.

Marlin Steel Wire, for example, has expanded its payroll and invested in high-tech equipment to keep up with a steady pick-up in orders from other U.S. manufacturers. Orders are rising, said owner Drew Greenblatt, because his customers are receiving a widening discount in the price of natural gas and electricity.

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