After compiling a jobs creation record over the last year that put Pennsylvania among the worst performing states, Pennsylvania has lost jobs during April and May. Here are the troubling numbers that demonstrate Pennsylvania needs more jobs than the gas boom by itself can provide.
Pennsylvania lost 9,900 jobs during May, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.t05.htm. The May job losses followed April's 5,100 drop.
While Pennsylvania lost jobs in May, Massachusetts, Ohio, California, New York, New Jersey are examples of the 27 states that gained jobs in the same month.
To make matter more worrying, Pennsylvania' poor comparative job performance extends over the last 12 months. While just 27,800 jobs have been created in the Keystone state since May 2011, New York boosted jobs by 130,200; New Jersey by 59,800; and Ohio by 75,700.
What about the supposed disaster of California? The Golden State saw 221,500 jobs added in the last 12 months.
Or how about Massachusetts that is about half the size of Pennsylvania? It gained 37,100 jobs or about 33% more than Pennsylvania.
According to Steve Herzenberg, a Ph.D economist from MIT, Pennsylvania ranks 39th for job growth over the last 3 months and 6 months and 36th over the last year.
The last year ought to end the idea that the gas boom by itself is big enough to make Pennsylvania prosperous. It's not and never was going to be.
According to IHS, as of 2010, the Marcellus Shale had created about 13,000 direct jobs in Pennsylvania and 57,000 total jobs. Those jobs came when desperately needed, have changed many lives much for the better, and benefited communities. They made an important contribution to Pennsylvania's big economy, but direct and indirect gas drilling jobs represented about 1% of all jobs in the state by 2010.
Since 2010, job creation in the Commonwealth has been poor, when compared to other states and the nation as a whole. It is past time to stop expecting the Marcellus Shale to meet all of Pennsylvania's economic development needs.
To regain jobs momentum lost over the last 12 months, Pennsylvania must invest in transportation, education, medicine, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, as well as other sectors of the diverse energy industry.