USA Today Analysis Shows Marcellus-Related Jobs in Pa. Continue to Grow As Nation’s Workforce Hits 30-Year Low

Canonsburg, PA – According to a new USA Today analysis, “The share of the population that is working fell to its lowest level last year since women started entering the workforce in large numbers three decades ago.” In today’s paper, reporter Dennis Cauchon notes that “only 45.4% of Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983 and down from a peak of 49.3% in 2000. Last year, just 66.8% of men had jobs, the lowest on record.”

The nation’s economic outlook, by most metrics, is grim. In Pennsylvania, modest overall employment growth is projected over the next year, the USA Today reports. Yet there’s a silver lining. While many industries have experienced cutbacks and lower rates of projected job growth, Pennsylvania’s ‘Natural resources & mining’ and ‘Professional & business services’ — at respective rates of 4.0% and 3.2% — continue to be leading sources of job creation in the Commonwealth.

Natural resources jobs account for direct Marcellus Shale-related employment. And according to the USA Today, professional and business services jobs included ‘scientific, technical services, management of companies, administrative support, waste management and remediation services.’ (Yes, these numbers are in line with the Marcellus Shale’s Coalition’s (MSC) analysis from earlier this month – available HERE).

We call it the ‘Marcellus Multiplier’ – the powerful supply chain, made up of a host of small and mid-sized businesses, that plays a critical role in enabling the responsible development of clean-burning American natural gas from up to 9,000 feet below ground. Here’s a quick look at how this job-creating impact is revitalizing communities:

  • While Fewer Than Half Americans Had Jobs Last Year, Penn Tech Grads “Can Pick From 15 to 20” Marcellus Jobs: Students graduating from the Pennsylvania College of Technology with two-year degrees in heavy equipment technology and diesel mechanics are being offered up to $20 an hour, said Mary Sullivan, dean of natural resources management. Some graduates are earning $70,000 a year, she said. Companies are telling the college “we’ll take everyone you can give us and then some,” Sullivan said. A graduate can pick from 15 to 20 jobs, she said. (Patriot News, 4/9/11)
  • “Pennsylvania Enters ‘Golden Age’ of Natural Gas”: More [Marcellus] jobs draw in more people, boosting the state economy and the finances of individuals. Supply store owners like Paul Battista have tailored their inventories to meet the demands of the natural gas industry, resulting in a boom in profits. “From ’08 to ’09, we probably had a 30-35 percent increase in our gross sales,” Battista said. “And from ’09 to ’10, we had a 100 percent increase in our business. And so far, 2011, we’re seeing another 100 percent increase over 2010.” (CBN News, 4/14/11)
  • “Landscape Architects Find New Business in Marcellus Shale”: The term “landscape architect” is more likely to conjure images of Central Park in New York than it is drilling rigs in Pennsylvania, but the natural gas boom in the Marcellus Shale has brought new life to a profession hit hard by the recession. … However, work generated by the Marcellus industry has become the bread and butter for many of his colleagues in the west and north-central portion of the state, said [Thomas] McLane. …McLane said he’s already seeing a surge in commercial and residential work along Route 6, the main road across the northern tier. (Patriot-News, 4/11/11)

Families, consumers, small businesses and those looking for steady work across the region recognize these clear economic benefits. In fact, a recent Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development poll analysis determined that a clear majority of Pennsylvanians support the responsible development of American natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. According the survey, “among those who did have opinions, more than two times as many expressed support for developing the gas industry as opposed it.” By clear margins, respondents not only support or strongly support Marcellus Shale development, but they also believe the “availability of jobs and job training opportunities were more likely to be expected to ‘get better.’

More important than new jobs and millions in tax revenue generated for local governments and for the Commonwealth, though, is the industry’s unwavering commitment to protecting the environment and getting this historic opportunity right. “Drilling can proceed safely,” said PennFuture president and CEO Jan Jarrett this week. She’s absolutely right. And as Ray Walker Jr., senior vice president of Range Resources and chairman of the MSC, told a crowd of 700 in Pittsburgh on Monday evening: “Nobody wants to do it right more than the companies that do it.”

Interested in joining our industry? Please visit the MSC’s Jobs Portal to learn more about employment opportunities, because we’re hiring.