Thursday, April 15, 2010

Marcellus Shale Boom: Help Wanted

I belong to a few Pittsburgh oriented groups at LinkedIn. In fact, I manage the IntoPittsburgh affiliation. A bunch of job openings appeared today related to the unconventional natural gas industry. Part of one of the postings:

They have partnered with a client in the oil and gas industry, which is looking to expand rapidly in the Pittsburgh area. They are positioned for a significant increase in drilling and production in the Marcellus shale next year. Within the next two months, the company is planning to hire up to 40 employees locally. All opportunities are direct hire, with excellent pay and benefits. Paid relocation is a possibility.

Recruiters off all kinds troll these LinkedIn groups trying to scare up talent. However, I haven't seen much energy activity over the last year or two. Albeit anecdotal, I expect the demand for labor to pick up considerably.

Another data point, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development is seeking an Energy Workforce Project Fellow:

This position provides focused project support to the Conference’s energy workforce priorities while providing the incumbent with a working introduction to the economic development and civic sector arenas. This fellowship is 12 to 18 months in duration.

The talent challenges facing the region are daunting. The ACCD is giving special attention to the energy sector. Again, we haven't seen anything yet. The labor shortage is on the horizon.

Concerning migration, PittsburghTODAY's most recent newsletter paints a picture of dramatic transformation. The labor market is swelling with job seekers a bit like we saw in Portland (Oregon) and Charlotte during the early part of the recession. People were still moving to those two cities despite the downturn.

Let me explain. The most recent unemployment rate provided a bit of shock, and not in a good way. On the other hand, the labor force numbers stand at historic highs and the job loss rate was the lowest in the benchmark cohort. Couple that with the remarkable turnaround in the balance of migration and I'm almost certain that newcomers are making a noticeable impact on the labor market.

Don't let the unemployment rate fool you. Pittsburgh is revving up its economy, particularly in the field of energy.

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