In a new policy brief, the Keystone Research Center sets the record straight on the Marcellus jobs claims. Keystone experts have also analyzed Pennsylvania's May jobs report and the compromise legislation adopted by the state Legislature last week that preserves extended federal unemployment benefits for 135,000 Pennsylvanians through the end of the year. Read on to learn more.
Recent news reports and statements have touted 48,000 "new hires" in Marcellus Shale industries, but that number only tells half the story, according to Keystone's new policy brief. “New hires” track additions to employment but not separations due to resignations, firings or replacements.
Between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the latest report from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Center for Workforce Information and Analysis (CWIA), all Marcellus Shale-related industries added 5,669 jobs. Six industries in what CWIA defines as the “Marcellus Core” industries added 9,288 jobs during this period. Over the same three years, 30 industries in a group CWIA calls “Marcellus Ancillary” actually lost 3,619 jobs.
Overall, Marcellus job growth is small — accounting for less than one in 10 of the 111,400 new jobs created since February 2010, when employment bottomed out after the recession, the report finds. Even if Marcellus Shale-related industries had created no jobs in 2010, the state still would have ranked third in overall job growth among the 50 states.
To sustain Pennsylvania’s strong economic performance, policymakers should adopt a drilling tax or fee that helps finance job-creating investments in education and the economy, as well as providing resources to protect the environment and address infrastructure needs, the report recommends.
Pennsylvania should also develop a Marcellus Shale economic development policy that includes training and placement of more Pennsylvania workers in high-paying Marcellus jobs; investing in industries that supply equipment, parts and services to the industry; enabling Pennsylvania manufacturers to benefit from low-cost natural gas; and setting aside revenue to seed a fund that will develop post-Marcellus Shale industries.