American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks is turning his attention this week to energy issues. The following commentary makes up the bulk of an email Brooks sent to AEI supporters:

A new chart from JPMorgan shows the truth about our dire unemployment numbers – if discouraged workers under age 55 were counted, the unemployment rate would rise to around 10.5 percent. But one state is leading the charge in unemployment reduction: North Dakota, coming in at 2.9 percent. What’s causing this incredibly high level of job creation? America’s energy industry. And there’s the potential for many more jobs where those came from.

As AEI’s Michael Barone points out, the massive increase in oil and gas output came about over the last decade solely because of market forces. The government continually props up failing alternative energy companies, but it turns out North America has more than four times the oil, natural gas and coal resources of the Middle East.

We stand to gain a great deal more from America’s shale revolution than simply jobs. Cheap and abundant energy is the lifeblood of any prosperous society. Energy use is so routine we often don’t think of all the ways we depend on it. When energy prices rise, it’s the poor who suffer the most as the cost of powering their homes, buying food and filling their gas tanks increases.

Supporting alternative energy research is important, to be sure, but such investment is better nurtured in the hands of entrepreneurs than bureaucrats.

Here’s the chart Brooks referenced: