For economy, best of energy surge is yet to come: IHS
The ongoing U.S. energy renaissance is having a ripple effect that will boost an already resurgent manufacturing sector and put more money in consumers' pockets, research firm IHS said Wednesday.
In an expansive study about the impact of unconventional oil and gas production in the world's largest economy, IHS projects a flood of energy-related investment (to the tune of $346 billion) that will wend its way into energy-related manufacturing investment by 2025.
The energy boom has had a "real and tangible" economic impact, said John Larson, vice president of IHS Economics, on a conference call. The effects include boosting the average household's disposable income by $1,200 last year, primarily via lower energy costs and lower prices paid for goods and services, for aggregate savings of $163 billion.
An assortment of energy-linked positions boosted U.S. 2.1 million jobs to the U.S. economy, according to IHS. Even in states that reject fracking and energy production -- such as New York, where IHS contends unconventional energy has added 44,000 new jobs -- the benefits can be felt, the firm says.
Shale fracturing -- particularly the natural gas it produces -- has been widely credited by experts with helping to reduce carbon emissions and contain electricity costs.
(Read more: Natural Gas Finds a Friend in US Climate Policy)
Yet the real benefits may be on a macroeconomic scale, IHS's Larson said. The boom has led to record amounts of U.S. production, a dynamic that IHS expects will add to gross domestic product and cut the trade deficit even further. Energy-intensive industries outperformed other types of manufacturers in 2012, the firm said.
The reverberations are already being felt. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the trade gap widened modestly in July—a blip that obscured the fact that the U.S. is exporting a record amount of petroleum.
"We actually expect the best is yet to come," said IHS' Larson. "The growth potential is strong, and these industries will be growth leaders in our economy." The energy production surge, he added, "will significantly improve the U.S. trade position … driven by a rise in production manufacturing that will displace [energy] imports."
—By CNBC's Javier E. David