Don't fret over oil's effects... yet: McNamee

The energy sector led a tanking Dow on Monday as U.S. crude oil hovered around $50 a barrel. The time to fear oil dragging the U.S. economy with it may not have come yet, though.

The commodity's prolonged slide provides an "unexpected dividend" for the United States economy, and concerns about it shaking up the job and stock markets are overblown, Roger McNamee, co-founder of Elevation Partners, said Monday.

"Oil and gas exploration only employs about 225,000 people in the United States, so the concerns that this is going to hurt our economy on the employment side, I think, are unfounded," McNamee told CNBC's "Squawk Alley."

Gas prices at a Costco station in Westminster, Colorado, December 23, 2014.
Rick Wilking | Reuters
Gas prices at a Costco station in Westminster, Colorado, December 23, 2014.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 300 points into Monday afternoon with Chevron and Exxon Mobil among its biggest losers. But energy stocks won't drag markets down by themselves, McNamee said.

"Energy is only 10 percent of the market. As a consequence, the collapse of those stocks is not necessarily a bad thing," McNamee said.

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McNamee added that oil's low price will benefit more Americans than it hurts. "There is no way" that additional spending money in consumer pockets brought about by cheaper gas won't provide a boon to the U.S. economy, he said.

"It's just plain a huge windfall for consumers," McNamee said.

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McNamee remains cautious on U.S. markets. He anticipates that speculation will continue and a "speculative blowoff" could loom in the near future. The prospect of a "2008-like end" to the current environment lingers in the future, McNamee added.

But oil prices will provide investors with enough reason to hold a positive outlook for now, he said.

"This is going to give investors a reason to not worry and to be more confident about the future," McNamee said.