Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Job Creation Numbers Different from Oil and Gas Industry Claims

from a report by Public News Service - WV

A new report finds that while fracking has created
jobs and helped some drilling-intensive areas
 from the worst effects of the recession,
the actual number of jobs is far below industry claims.
 Photo courtesy of Environment Ohio

Job creation from shale drilling is not all that it's cracked up to be, according to a new six-state study. The Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative, a group of state-level research organizations tracking the impacts of shale drilling, found shale drilling has produced far fewer jobs than the industry and its backers claim. In Ohio, researcher Amanda Woodrum said, shale-related employment on the whole has been relatively minor.

"To date, Ohio has seen about 3,000, which is a pretty modest number," she said. "In the scheme of things, it's about 1-10th of 1 percent of total employment - pretty small." From 2005 to 2012 in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Virginia and West Virginia, the collaborative found, fewer than four new direct shale-related jobs have been created for each new well drilled, much less than estimates as high as 31 direct jobs per well in some industry-financed studies. 

Additionally, Woodrum said, the data doesn't distinguish between jobs given to local residents and those that go to out-of-state workers. Woodrum said shale drilling certainly has helped some small rural communities such as Carroll County weather the bad economy. However, she added, if Pennsylvania and West Virginia are indicators of what Ohio can expect, shale job gains will continue to be very modest. "There's some positive economic development," she said, "but it's not so great to be worthy of throwing all caution to the wind and ignoring some of the cost of industry development." Woodrum claimed that the industry has exaggerated the jobs impact to minimize or avoid taxation, regulation and even examination of drilling. The report pointed to the need for better collaboration between state and local policy leaders, and called for the creation of a six-state commission to establish a consensus method to track jobs. The report is online at Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service -