Study: Marcellus Shale will bring 212,000 jobs
Share with others:
By 2020, the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry will have created or supported 212,000 Pennsylvania jobs, according to a Penn State projection released Tuesday and paid for by the industry.
"The Economic Impacts of the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Play: An Update," revises some of the projections made last summer by Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, which had said that 107,000 Marcellus Shale-related jobs would be created in the state by 2010.
The new study now forecasts that by the end of 2010 there will be up to 88,000 jobs created in Pennsylvania by the Marcellus Shale play, either directly (somebody working for a natural gas company) or indirectly (somebody working at a hotel near a drill, for example).
The majority of those forecasted jobs will be outside of the mining and utility sectors. For example, the study projects that, because of Marcellus Shale spending, Pennsylvania will have added or retained a total of 1,915 arts, entertainment and recreation jobs by the end of 2011, and 13,435 retail sector jobs.
Though the language of the study is a bit confusing, one of its authors, Penn State professor Robert Watson, said the job projections are cumulative, not annual gains. In other words, by the end of 2010, there could be 88,000 total Marcellus Shale-related jobs in the state - not 88,000 new jobs created on top of the ones that already exist.
The study also projects that energy and utility companies will invest $8.8 billion this year on Marcellus Shale exploration, and more than $11 billion in Pennsylvania in 2011.
The study was paid for by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, whose president and executive director, Kathryn Klaber, said, "Last year alone, Marcellus producers paid more than $1.7 billion to landowners across the state, and spent more than $4.5 billion total to make these resources available. By the end of this year, that number is expected to double."
All the more reason that the industry should agree to a severance tax on the gas that it produces, according to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a statewide policy research organization:
"The gas industry is overstating the economic benefits of increased drilling and overestimating the impact of a severance tax. A severance tax will ensure that drillers - not Pennsylvania taxpayers - bear the costs of environmental cleanup, infrastructure repair, emergency services, and other social costs of drilling."
Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center research director Michael Wood noted that "in light of the tremendous environmental devastation caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it seems unconscionable that the industry would not acknowledge the real environmental and social costs of drilling."
First Published May 26, 2010 12:00 am