Latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that more than 162,000 new jobs in the U.S. oil and gas industry were created between 2007 and 2012, highlighting the importance of the industry to the national economy.

The 40 percent increase in the number of people employed in the industry can be divided into three categories: drilling, extraction and support. The first one, comprising spudding, drilling and reworking wells, secured jobs for over 90,000 people at the end of 2012, up 6,600 from five years earlier.

The second category, extraction, involves everything from developing and producing oil and gas, including exploration, and the entire production process. According to the Bureau of Labor, over the same period this category added over 53,000 jobs, closing 2012 at a total count of 193,000 jobs.

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Support, the last category, is the largest group of workers in the oil and gas industry and accounted for the biggest increase in jobs between 2007 and 2012. More than 102,000 new jobs in this area were created, taking the national headcount to 286,000, figures show.

The oil and gas industry has a positive impact on a number of other industries in the United States as well, the Bureau of Labor pointed out. Among those benefiting from the industry are manufacturers and suppliers of pipe, drilling equipment and other drilling materials, Oil and Gas Journal reported.