Brookings Report: Driven by Shale Development, Pittsburgh Tops U.S. Economic Recovery Charts

Despite the lingering economic challenges our nation faces, particularly as it relates to job growth, following one of the sharpest recessions in a generation, the greater Pittsburgh region is strong and growing stronger, according to a recently released Brookings Institution analysis. In its report, which analyzed such economic indicators as employment growth and GDP per capita, Brookings determines that Pittsburgh, along with Dallas and Knoxville, “have returned to pre-recession rates of economic growth.”

The Tribune-Review reports this:

“With its economy tied to education, medicine and energy, Pittsburgh earned another distinction on Friday as one of three major U.S. metropolitan areas experiencing recovery since the 2007-09 recession ended.” … Douglas Heuck, director the Regional Indicators for Pittsburgh Today, a research affiliate of the University of Pittsburgh, said …  Marcellus shale drilling has been a shot in the arm, coming during the teeth of the recession.”

The Dallas Morning News also reports that “Pittsburgh, one of the other U.S. metro areas to have fully recovered, also benefited from robust natural gas drilling.”

Separately, a new West Virginia Department of Commerce report further underscores the positive, job-creating impact of safe Marcellus Shale natural gas development. In fact, according to the report, the responsible development of clean-burning natural gas in West Virginia has boosted industry employment by nearly 10 percent. Here are key excerpts from the report:

  • Statewide, employment in oil and gas extraction core industries in 2011 has grown by 916, which represents an improvement of 9.5 percent since 2008.
  • The average wage has increased by more than $8,100 during this period from a level of $61,898 to an annual average pay of $70,082 in 2011.
  • Though both industry sectors include oil and gas in their definition of activities, there can be no doubt the recent upswing in activity within the two can only be attributed to measurable activity in the Marcellus Shale gas field.

And this from E&E News:

Shale mining operations have boosted West Virginia oil and gas industry employment by nearly 10 percent over the past four years, according to a new report. WorkForce West Virginia’s 2012 Marcellus Shale report, submitted Wednesday to the state’s legislative Joint Committee on Government and Finance and published online yesterday, shows that the state’s oil and gas workforce has grown by 916 employees, or 9.5 percent, since 2008, the first year included in the group’s study. Last year, 10,580 oil and gas workers were employed in West Virginia. Workers in the state’s shale business also saw their wages increase from an average annual pay of $61,898 in 2008 to $70,082 in 2011, the study found. “The overall effect on specific industries in West Virginia due to activity within the Marcellus Shale gas field is becoming more evident,” WorkForce West Virginia wrote.

The positive economic and job growth that continues to take hold across Appalachia is largely driven by the safe development of clean-burning natural gas, which is Powering an American Renaissance.