Counties with Ethane Crackers See Job Creation, Higher Incomes

The ethane cracker plant under construction in Beaver County will raise both average income levels and local employment rates, according to a new study by two economic professors at Washington and Jefferson College.

When complete, the Shell plant, which is the largest private investment in the state since WWII and one of the first to be built outside of the Gulf in a generation, will convert locally produced ethane into polyethylene pellets for everyday plastics production.

Here are key takeaways from the report:

  • The cracker will stimulate a 10.4% increase in employment within Beaver County
  • Excluding jobs from the construction of the plant, 7,400 jobs will be created in the long run
  • Counties with a cracker plant have “real mean earnings” that are $5,627 higher than counties without one, nearly 13% higher
  • The plant will also boost employment in other sectors such as: utilities, construction, transportation and warehousing, administrative, waste/ remediation, accommodation and food service
  • Other types of manufacturing in the county will see trickle down benefits from the plant

Chemical manufacturers need a reliable, affordable supply of ethane to produce a variety of plastics that we use every day. In fact, demand for ethane is rapidly growing both domestically and abroad, according to the Energy Information Administration.

As the nation’s second largest natural gas producing state, Pennsylvania offers an ample supply of natural gas liquids, including ethane – the chemical compound that’s critical to plastics production – giving petrochemical manufacturers here a competitive advantage.

Learn more about American manufacturing’s connection to shale gas by visiting the MSC’s blog.