Newly discovered sources of oil and natural gas are bigger boosts to the North American economy than even experts estimated. Residential U.S. natural gas prices fell between 12 percent and 32 percent since 2008 depending on location, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The result: more money in the pockets of American consumers — as much as $1,200 a year, according to a recent IHS study.
Natural gas prices in much of Europe are three times that of U.S. levels — with Asian prices even higher. The shifting cost of energy is one reason companies like Motorola have chosen North America as a home for new manufacturing facilities. PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimates the shale gas boom will add an additional 1 million manufacturing jobs to the U.S. economy by 2025.
Recently, Mexico, which has tremendous oil and natural gas resources, began to open up its state-owned energy sector to new, private investment. This could tilt the balance of global manufacturing even further.