July 22, 2015
Mark Fellows explains the crucial link between U.S. minerals mining and America’s competitiveness in global manufacturing.
By creating high-paying jobs and providing the raw materials essential to manufacturing, minerals mining helps stimulate economic recovery.
The U.S. minerals mining industry supports more than 1.2 million jobs. A U.S. metal mining job is one of the highest paying in the private sector, with an average salary annually salary more than $85,000 and often climbing into the six figures for experienced workers.
Prospects for those entering the field today are bright. Technological and advanced practices helped to make mining jobs continually safer for workers, and mining is one of a handful of sectors that creates jobs at a fairly consistent rate over the next 20 years, adding between 11,000 and 13,000 jobs per year.
It is estimated that every metal mining job generates 2.5 additional jobs elsewhere in the economy, and every nonmetal mining job generates 1.8 additional jobs. With 416,000 Americans directly employed through minerals mining today and another 798,000 indirectly employed, the industry is putting hundreds of thousands of people with diverse backgrounds and interest to work.In addition to jobs, raw materials provided by U.S. mines also boost the economy. In 2012, U.S. mines produced mineral raw materials worth $76.5 billion—an increase from 2011. These domestic raw materials—plus recycled materials—were used to process mineral materials such as aluminum, copper and steel worth $704 billion. Industries including technology, manufacturing, construction and automotive transform these minerals into the infrastructure and products we use every day, and they have added more than $2 trillion to the U.S. economy, which is more than 12 percent of GDP in 2012.
By creating jobs and providing essential materials, mining is emerging as an important partner in stimulating economic recovery.