Monday, June 18, 2012

PA Loses Jobs in April & May: Needs More Than Just Marcellus Shale

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.  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.


  1. with 24 propossed or permitted natural gas compressor stations within a 15 mile radius of Historic Montrose-you are not going to see much of anything else here. THE focus is gas extraction and transportation here now. It is the big fish in the pond. Welcome to Dish, Deadwood, Dimock...anything and everything is and will be connected to the gas industry. I still see dozens of "out of state" workers and yes they are eating at the diners and shopping at Walmart. Since the gov wants to make PA the petrochemical capital there will be jobs, just wondering who will be living here?

  2. Marcellus Shale is very boom now a days, many people says that "Marcellus Shale is part of their life" simple means that they are a big help for they are giving a lot of opportunity to all of us people..

    1. Job creation from the Marcellus is real and important. It has transformed positively many lives and moved whole communities from high unemployment to low unemployment. The Marcellus has also delivered low cost energy to virtually everyone, saving many families up to $1,500 compared to 2008 costs.

      Pennsylvania, however, needs many more jobs than the Marcellus will ever be able to create by itself. We need an economic development strategy that includes gas but does not rely on it exclusively. Right now Pennsylvania is not creating enough jobs. Indeed we have lost about 15,000 jobs in the last two months.