U.S. energy sector employees can help accelerate economic growth and employment by supporting sound energy policies and education, job training and career development, Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), said today. “Pro-growth energy policies can spur our economy by opening access to American resources, enabling investment and innovation, and by advancing energy and infrastructure projects that employ millions of Americans,” Tillerson said in a speech at North America’s Building Trades Unions legislative conference in Washington, D.C. Since the recession that began in late 2007, employment in oil and gas fields has increased 40 percent and in states where oil production is on the rise, overall employment growth has outpaced the rest of the United States. “The oil and natural gas industry now supports 9.8 million jobs, and the average job in oil and gas production pays roughly seven times the federal minimum wage,” Tillerson said. “The U.S. energy sector now accounts for $1.2 trillion of the U.S. economy – equal to 8 percent of our gross domestic product. And thanks to technological breakthroughs and visionary projects, in 2013 our nation became the world’s leading producer of energy from oil and natural gas.” U.S. energy workers, through the leaders and members of American unions, can help convey the reasons why access to the country’s energy resources and expansion of its energy infrastructure is so important, said Tillerson. With sound energy policies, the U.S. could see up to 452,000 new jobs created by 2035 through liquefied natural gas exports, according to a recent study. Some 500,000 new jobs supported by new oil sands development could come within 20 years and in oil and gas exploration and production alone, 166,000 jobs for African American and Hispanic workers could be generated between 2010 and 2020, the study shows.