Friday, December 21, 2012

PA Ranks Second In Shale Gas Jobs: 103,000 Total According To New Study

IHS Global Insight finds that shale gas development has created 103,000 jobs in Pennsylvania.  The Commonwealth ranks second in shale gas jobs, behind Texas, according to the IHS new report that was funded in part by the oil and gas industry.

There is continuing controversy about the number of jobs created by shale gas development in Pennsylvania, with estimates ranging from less than 20,000 to as much as 240,000.  I will be curious to see how the IHS analysis weathers likely critiques.

While the precise number of jobs created by shale gas in Pennsylvania is a matter of controversy, shale gas has certainly provided a significant boost to the Pennsylvania economy and at a time when every new job is especially needed.  Indeed, in counties where drilling is concentrated, unemployment has fallen substantially.

Yet, across Pennsylvania, for the first time in 6 years, the unemployment rate is above the national average and has actually gone up since May 2012, even as the national rate falls.  Since January 2011, Pennsylvania has the worse job performance of any state with a major oil and gas boom.

The gas industry alone is never going to be big enough to bring prosperity to all of the Commonwealth.  Pennsylvania needs more than 6 million jobs to be at full employment, and so, if the IHS report is near the mark, the gas industry is providing less than 2% of the jobs Pennsylvania needs.


  1. the Gas Industry provides less than 2% of the jobs needed and what kind of jobs ? Is this study rating the jobs whether ongoing and not just short-term. Unemployment has gone up since May 2012, because the Gas Industry has pulled out significantly since then and has moved much of their rigs to western Pa. and Ohio for wetter gas and to make a few more bucks from the products and gases processed from wetter gas. What does this tell you? It tells me that the Gas Industry is hurting with gas prices in the basement and profits down. It's not an Industry that can be relied on for long-term stability. It can be relied on for environmental disasters that are building and will probably be more blatantly evident in the years ahead and then we will have a growing job sector involving environmental clean-up...

  2. Drilling activity is uneven in the state. But it is clear that counties with the most active drilling still maintain better than average employment numbers, e.g. Bradford County with 6.3%. It was over 10% before drilling began in earnest.

    What difference does it make if the drilling doesn't last - and we don't know how long it will be. It could be decades. Why pass up the wealth it will create in the meantime?

    As for supposed damage, from all *objective* indications it will be far, far less than from past extractive activities, whether oil or coal. The "footprint" is actually relatively modest and the residents in active communities seem to agree - and in any event appreciate the benefits. John's comments on the employment situation in PA otherwise merely underscoring that.

    It is also not clear how much of the anticipated "downstream" business activity - counting on plentiful and low cost gas - will contribute once it kicks in, e.g. the Shell cracker plant.

  3. I just finished reading about how the gas industry workers do not have insurance and the impact on our hospitals. I am still waiting for the REAL picture- taking into account the true cost of this "cheap " fuel..guess I will have to stick around long enough to see.....hmm...what does living in a gasfield do to life expectancy????

  4. Are you aware the so-called IHS Global Insight report states on page iii:

    This research was supported by American Petroleum Institute, Institute for 21st Century Energy, the American Chemistry Council, and Natural Gas Supply Association.

    IHS's previous reports of 2009 and 2011 were paid for by American Natural Gas Association (co-founded by Aubrey McClenndon, CEO Chesapeake), the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) which created the PR campaign called Energy-in-Depth?

    I've read these reports, they essentially look like they were produced with a cookie cutter and decorated with different colored sprinkles.