The U.S. oil and gas boom is cutting into jobless numbers, supporting a total of 1.7 million jobs this year, a number that will swell to almost 3 million by 2020, a leading consultant said in a study released on Tuesday.
The report by forecaster IHS Global Insight is part of a series attempting to quantify the impact that booming production of so-called unconventional oil and gas has had on the American economy, Reuters reported.
Using new technology to blast fossil fuels trapped in shale rock known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has transformed the U.S. energy sector.
After five years of rapid growth, unconventional oil accounts for about 2 million barrels per day of U.S. production in 2012, IHS said. Total U.S. crude oil production is expected to average 6.3 million barrels per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Unconventional oil will outpace conventionally drilled oil by 2015 and reach close to 4.5 million barrels per day by 2020, representing close to two-thirds of total U.S. crude and condensate production, IHS said.
"At which point do you stop calling this unconventional?" said John Larson, a vice president at the firm and lead author of the study, in an interview. "This is going to become the convention."