To ground the above story in a larger labor context, Halliburton has been on a hiring spree of its own. The reason behind it is the shale boom and unconventional gas:
“North America typically leads into a down cycle and leads out of a down cycle, and that’s exactly what’s happening now,” said Dan Pickering, an analyst at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. in Houston whose firm rates Halliburton shares at “buy” and doesn’t own any. “It’s coming on the back of all of the shale and shale-related activity, both gas and oil.”
As the global market recovers, itinerant workers in states such as Pennsylvania might be called to other parts of the world. I expect the demand for workers in the Pittsburgh region to increase dramatically even as the number of new drilling sites levels off (if that does indeed happen). This should help to eat up some of the labor supply glut that SW PA is currently experiencing.