Monday, August 08, 2011

PA Shale Gas Jobs Geography

Tracking the growth of 1099 jobs has become a proxy for the impact of shale gas and oil on employment. The overall pattern should put to bed some of the debate about the benefits of drilling the Marcellus. EMSI with the story:

Seven of the top 12 counties are in Texas, including Midland County. Oil and gas extraction, the fastest-rising sector for 1099 workers in the US, is driving most of this growth in workers outside the unemployment insurance (UI) system.

You can check out the map of 1099 job growth by county here. Warren and Forest in Northwestern PA stand out to me. The positive spillovers, in terms of jobs, from the Marcellus cover a minority of the state. Reading Fuel Fix this morning, I noticed that the footprint (good and bad) of the Eagle Ford Shale boom is localized in Dimmit County. Worth noting:

But while the county tax base and sales tax revenue are both doubling, and there are oil field jobs aplenty, the flip side is seen in the $1,200 two-bedroom rental house that a year ago went for $250, causing some locals to be shoved out.

Comparing revenue gains in other states would be a useful exercise for Pennsylvania voters. I don't trust anything coming from the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC). The MSC is seeking the smallest tax possible. Fear mongering (i.e. shale boom happening elsewhere) is the primary tactic used to achieve this goal. Worse, Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley is in cahoots with industry.

Back to the EMSI data, West Virginia places two counties in the top-5 for 1099 job growth and two counties in the bottom-5 for 1099 job growth. Are employees moving from coal to shale gas? As long as China is out there sucking up the world's raw materials, I'd imagine coal companies are still hiring. Regardless, the economic activity for West Virginia continues shift to the north, closer to Pittsburgh.

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