Release: New 6-State Study Finds Jobs Impact of Shale Drilling Exaggerated by Industry and Supporters
Media Contact: Chris Lilienthal, 717-829-4823, Lilienthal@pennbpc.org
Listen to a Nov. 21 Media Conference Call on the Report
This report was released by the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative, a joint effort of the Pennsylvania Budget Policy Center, Keystone Research Center, Fiscal Policy Institute in New York, Policy Matters Ohio, West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, and The Commonwealth Institute in Virginia.
HARRISBURG, PA (November 21, 2013) — Drilling in the six states that span the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations has produced far fewer new jobs than the industry and its supporters claim, according to a new report released today by the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative, a group of research organizations tracking the impacts of shale drilling.
“Industry supporters have exaggerated the jobs impact in order to minimize or avoid altogether taxation, regulation, and even careful examination of shale drilling,” said Frank Mauro, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute in New York, a member of the Collaborative.
Shale drilling has created jobs, particularly in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and cushioned some drilling-intensive areas in those states from the worst effects of the Great Recession and the weak recovery. As this report documents, however, the number of shale jobs created is far below industry claims and remains a small share of overall employment.
“Shale drilling has made little difference in job growth in any of the six states we studied,” said Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center in Pennsylvania, a member of the Collaborative. “We know this because we now have data on what happened, not what industry supporters hoped would happen.”
The Marcellus and Utica shale formations span six states: New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. Natural gas development in these six states was fueled by high commodity prices from 2000 to 2008. As prices have declined more recently, gas drilling activity has slowed while development of higher-priced oil has accelerated.
Recent trends are consistent with the boom and bust pattern that has characterized extractive industries for decades. It also points to the need for state and local policymakers to collaborate to enact policies that serve the public interest.
Below are the key findings from the new report:
Members of the Multi-State Shale Collaborative said this report provides some needed context in shale drilling and related policy debates.
“While shale development has been important to West Virginia's ongoing economic recovery, it is less than 1 percent of the state's employment mix,” said Ted Boettner, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, a member of the Collaborative. “This means policymakers need to make the important public investments in higher education and workforce development that will diversify our economy and make it stronger over the long-term.”
“This report shows very few shale-related jobs created in Ohio,” said Amanda Woodrum, an energy researcher with Policy Matters Ohio, another member of the Collaborative. “If Pennsylvania and West Virginia are indicators for what we can expect in Ohio, employment in Ohio’s shale industry will continue to be very modest.”
“Counting shale jobs accurately will help state and local governments plan for impacts and removes the hype intended to discourage unbiased scrutiny of the industry’s pluses and minuses,” said Herzenberg. “Our report recommends a six-state commission that establishes a consensus method to track jobs.”
The Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative brings together independent, nonpartisan research and policy organizations in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia to monitor employment trends and the community impacts of energy extraction in the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Member organizations include the Fiscal Policy Institute of New York, Policy Matters Ohio, Keystone Research Center/Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis in Virginia, and West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.