Oct 14, 2014 - 5:45pm

Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Boom Creates 45,000 Construction Jobs

Senior Editor, Digital Content

Here are four examples of how shale energy development is working on a state level.

1. Natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale is creating thousands of jobs, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago study:

Natural gas exploration in the Marcellus shale formation has created just over 45,000 construction jobs, a new study has concluded.

The study looked at a 13 trades related to natural gas exploration from 2008 through the first half of 2014.

It was commissioned by the Oil and Natural Gas Industry Labor-Management Committee, a coalition of labor and industry interests in oil and gas.

“A preliminary examination of employment data in states related to the Marcellus Shale Play … reveals that natural gas exploration has been a strong engine of job growth,” the researchers with the University of Illinois concluded.

The figures are based on actual hours worked in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio, assuming 1,600 hours in a year for a worker.

Earlier this year, consulting firm FMI estimated that "more than $330 billion will be spent on oil- and gas-related construction during the next four years.”

2. Farther west, Mark Green writes about a new study on the positive economic effects that oil and natural gas development generates in Colorado:

Just looking at 2012, oil and natural gas activity generated more than $200 million for Colorado schools, supported nearly 94,000 jobs in the state and created more than $23 billion [sic] in state economic activity, according to the report conducted by the university’s Leeds School of Business and commissioned by API.

3. An Ohio town in the Utica Shale is experiencing an economic boom from developing natural gas from the Utica Shale:

In Marietta, hotels are full. Restaurants are booming. The city’s median household income shot up more than 20 percent in one year to a 2013 estimate of $40,286, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

At Marietta’s auto dealerships, the increase in business has been immediate and dramatic.

“Three months ago, we couldn’t get them financed on a $5,000 car,” Marietta dealer Jim Cobb says of one of his recent Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram customers.

“Suddenly, they come in and buy a $60,000 truck and pay you cash for it.”

4. Let's not forget North Dakota:

Ground zero for America's "shale revolution" in gas and oil production, North Dakota is also the reigning title-holder for lowest unemployment among the 50 states.

There were more unfilled jobs in September than job applications within the state, where oil field workers can make six-figure salaries and even the fast-food restaurants dangle hiring bonuses of $300 or more. The state has been recruiting specifically from Michigan for workers of all stripes and skill levels — hoping to entice entire families to relocate and grow roots.

North Dakota's official 2.8% jobless rate in August is essentially full employment, allowing just about anyone who wants a job to get one

These economic benefits will continue if we embrace America’s energy abundance. A 2012 report from the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy stated, “By 2035, unconventional oil and gas will add almost $475 billion dollars to the economies of the lower 48 US states.”

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.