US Oil Boom: Soon to Be Top Producer?

Morning Business Memo

America's oil boom is surging so fast the US could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer. Driven by high prices and new drilling methods, US production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons is on track to rise 7 percent this year. This will be the fourth straight year of crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951. The Energy Department forecasts production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons, which includes biofuels, will average 11.4 million barrels per day next year. That would be just shy of the amount Saudi Arabia produces. "We've been a long time net importer of crude oil by a large amount," says Ben Brockwell of the Oil Price Information Service. "There are expert analysts who predict that within the next five years, the U-S could be an exporter of crude oil."

What are the industries with the most new jobs? A new survey today says while the labor market continues to improve slowly, several sectors and parts of the country have been booming in the past three years. "Drilling crude petroleum, natural gas extraction, natural gas production: all those are up well over 20 percent," says Jennifer Grasz of CareerBuilder. Its report finds the internet has directly created a lot of jobs "Electronic shopping that's up 23 percent. Internet publishing and broadcasting up 30 percent." Other hot areas for job creation include health care, transportation and manufacturing. "And so you see machine shops coming back, and also you see those other industries tied to it," says Grasz. "Specialized freight trucking - those jobs are coming back as well."

The CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists survey finds there is also a close correlation between the top locations for job growth and the concentration of fast-growing industries in those markets. "Technology hiring is a big contributor for growth in the Bay Area and Raleigh and while Texas cities, Oklahoma and Salt Lake are benefiting from strong oil and gas activity," says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder "The rebound in manufacturing helped to land Detroit in the top ten while healthcare continues to thrive in Phoenix."

The stock market is coming off of yesterday's steep drop. The Dow fell 243 points to 13,103. The key averages were down between 0.9 and 1.8 percent. The Dow is nearly 4 percent down from its five-year high reached earlier this month. Futures rose this morning after a report suggesting China's recent manufacturing slump may be bottoming out.

It's well known that Europe has severe problems with debt. A new report today from Eurostat - the EU's statistics office - makes it clear high debt levels are not confined to the struggling economies of Greece, Spain, Portugal or Italy. The report says the debt burden of the 17 countries that use the euro rose to 90 percent of the value of its economy at the end of the second quarter, despite of efforts by many of the countries to cut back on their spending. The debt problems are getting worse for many euro countries. Greece saw the biggest quarterly increase in its debt burden to 150 percent of its national income- up from 136.9 percent compared to previous quarter.

More evidence of higher airline fares as the US economy and demand for travel gradually improve. Travelocity says average fares for Thanksgiving holiday flights are 9 percent higher than they were last year. In addition some airlines have added or boosted fees in 2012.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio