August 7, 2014

Quiz: Where Does Mining Matter Most?

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eia chart


We nerded out a little bit here at Inside Energy when we saw this new graph by the Energy Information Administration. After all, we love to think we are impressing our friends with energy-related bar trivia like this.

But really–this chart is cool because it illustrates a lot of the things we’ve been covering at Inside Energy recently. Leigh Paterson taught us that one in every 100 Wyoming residents works in the coal industry, so it’s not surprising that Wyoming’s economy is most dependent on mining of any state. And in my post on the tension between oil and agriculture in North Dakota, I reported that mining became that state’s largest industry last year, eclipsing agriculture (and prompting lots of soul searching among some farmers).

A few highlights from the EIA that are worth pointing out:

  • Alaska’s economy is the second most dependent on mining, after Wyoming. But mining’s share of the economy is dropping there along with oil production from the North Slope.
  • The percentage of North Dakota’s economy that’s related to mining (which includes oil and gas) is growing faster than in any other state. In 2003, mining made up 2 percent of the economy. In 2013, it was 14 percent.
  • When it comes to overall size of the mining sector, Texas is still king.

It’s also worth pointing out that energy states have some of the fastest growing economies and lowest unemployment rates in the country. According to the EIA, “of the six states where mining comprised more than 10% of the state’s economy in 2013, mining growth resulted in five of those states having higher economic growth than the national average.”

Now that’s a good piece of trivia for roughnecks in the dive bars of rural Wyoming (or energy nerds in radio studios in Denver) to keep in their back pockets.