Shale Gas Drilling (Fracking) a Rare Bright Spot for Jobs

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has a report out showing the positive impact of shale gas drilling on the job market in the state.

The boom in Marcellus shale natural-gas exploration and production created 48,000 jobs in Pennsylvania during the past 18 months, says a new state report.

“The numbers are absolutely staggering. We certainly project the jobs will grow as production continues to expand,” said Travis Windle, a spokesman for the trade group Marcellus Shale Coalition in Cecil in Washington County.

In this economy jobs are not that abundant, so a clearly thriving industry is indeed a bright spot, but as the report notes, these jobs are not just a boon because they are available, they are good paying jobs to boot.

The report shows that the average wage last year for jobs in the basic gas industry was $69,995, while the average wage in support industries — such as construction, steel and engineering — was $63,967. That compares with an average wage for all industries in the state of about $45,491.

Kudos to Pennsylvania policymakers for dismissing the aggressive anti-fracking campaign of the anti-fossil fuel left and welcoming the development of abundant, clean-burning, domestic energy supplies.   Another benefit that the increased economic activity and jobs deliver is a little help with this.

The state currently faces a deficit of us to $4 billion for the FY2012 state budget.

Oddly, many other similarly situated states are not seeing this whole shale gas thing in the same light as Pennsylvania.  One state in particular comes to mind.

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  • SigFan

    Being from PA I am very pleased to see the state get behind this burgeoning industry.  They have enacted sensible environmental regulations on the activities, and we are already seeing the effect of the additional NG supply on utility costs and an expanded and growing economy.  While we still suffer under the general malaise that the rest of the country is experiencing, we have not been hit nearly as hard as other places, particularly here in western PA.  With the abundance of NG found here and elsewhere I am surprised that there hasn’t been a bigger push for CNG as a fuel source for vehicles.  Seems that if you could commercialize that and offer it as a competitive alternative to gas and hybrid/electric you could make a huge killing in the market, and drive even more economic expansion.