Blog: Many Core Drilling Jobs Existed Before Emergence of Hydrofracking

Publication Date: 
December 4, 2013

Chris LilienthalCross posted at Third and State

It’s been nearly two weeks since we released a report with the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative finding that drilling in the six states that span the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations has produced far fewer new jobs than the industry and its supporters claim.

We’ve also blogged about how shale drilling has been highly sensitive to price fluctuations and how drilling has shifted from Pennsylvania to Ohio and other areas with growth in shale oil production beginning in 2012.

Another important point to remember is that many of the core jobs in gas extraction existed well before the emergence of hydrofracking. Together, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia had 38% of all producing wells in the country in 1990 and 32% in 2000. Some counties with a long history of mineral extraction have experienced a shift in employment from coal to shale extraction.

Which brings us to the key finding of this report: that employment estimates have been overstated, and the industry and its boosters have used inappropriate employment numbers, including equating new hires with new jobs and using ancillary job figures that largely have nothing to do with drilling, even after the flaws in those numbers have been brought to their attention.

In addition, industry-funded studies, including those by Dr. Timothy Considine and co-authors, have substantially overstated the total jobs impact of the shale industry. With the passage of several years since the earliest Considine studies, we now know that actual Pennsylvania job growth has been much less than his initial estimates for 2011 and 2012.

So if you haven’t had a chance to look at the recent report, take a minute and check out the key findings. The Collaborative was formed to respond more efficiently and effectively to the need for accurate information on the impacts of drilling so that we can promote state and local policies on shale drilling that really serve the public good.