Skip to comments.How Many Jobs Does Fracking Really Create?
Posted on 04/15/2014 1:52:51 PM PDT by thackney
Fracking creates jobs.
That's the linchpin of the oil and gas industry argument for permitting the controversial drilling practice. And it's become the industry's trump card as the debate ragesamong policymakers and scientistsover whether fracking is safe for the people and environment around it.
Getting an exact count of how many people collect paychecks as a result of fracking, however, is more art than science, and in many casesparticularly when it comes time for industry backers and politicians to tout the practicea close look at the numbers shows that some of the largest estimates are based on the most generous economic assumptions.
Take Pennsylvania, a state at the center of the fracking boom. It sits atop the Marcellus shale, the largest rock formation of its kind in the U.S., and has seen a surge in shale gas production. Natural-gas production in Pennsylvania increased by 72 percent from 2011 to 2012, the largest jump out of all the major gas-producing states.
Supporters of fracking say the production explosion has generated a comparable increase in oil and gas jobs. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican awaiting the winner of a crowded Democratic primary in what is projected to be a hotly contested gubernatorial race, has worked to put pro-fracking policies in placeand his campaign is telling Pennsylvanians that the policies have produced results.
Corbett's campaign proclaims in a television spot that the Marcellus shale natural-gas industry is supporting over 200,000 jobs. But according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, just over 30,000 people were employed by industries directly tied to the fracking boom in the third quarter of last year.
So what explains the 170,000-job gap between Corbett's campaign and his state agency calculation?
The 30,000 figure is the state's estimate of jobs that are closely connected to natural-gas production in the Marcellus shalea tally that includes employment in fields like natural-gas extraction, well drilling, and pipeline transportation.
The state also provides another, broader metric of shale-related jobs. Instead of counting jobs in core Marcellus shale industries, it calculates employment in the larger natural-gas supply chain. The total for this category comes to 214,946 jobs in the third quarter of last year.
That's the figure Corbett is relying on for his ad, his campaign confirmed.
But the number was never intended to come without caveats. It covers industries whose connection to oil and gas development is tenuous at best, ranging from freight trucking to highway, street, and bridge construction. And agency officials openly admit that the figurewhen used to estimate jobs supported by shaleamounts to little more than a guess.
"We have absolutely no idea how many jobs in that second category are due to natural-gas production," said Tim McElhinny, an economic research manager at the state Department of Labor and Industry's center for workforce information and analysis.
None of this is to say that fracking hasn't created jobs. In 2002, the oil and gas industry employed roughly 6,500 people in Pennsylvania, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2012the latest year for which BLS had data availablethat number had ballooned to more than 30,000, an increase of about 360 percent. During that period, the state saw a rise of only 1.3 percent in total employment.
The energy boom has injected frackingand energy jobs in generalinto the gubernatorial race, but its role in the political discussion dwarfs the sector's actual impact on the state economy: In 2012, jobs in core industries tied to natural-gas production made up less than 1 percent of Pennsylvania's total 5.5 million jobs.
"It's a drop in the bucket," said Tim Kelsey, a professor at the Pennsylvania State University and cofounder of the Center for Economic and Community Development. "Relative to statewide employment this is a very small number of jobs."
Pennsylvania's shale boom was enough to easebut not erasethe state's pain during the recession. BLS reports the state shed a net total of 74,133 jobs between 2007 and 2012, while the oil and gas industry added roughly 21,000 jobs.
And fracking's ability to spur employment may be waning.
The industry continues to add jobs, but the pace has slowed. After posting its highest employment gains in a decade between 2010 to 2011an interval when the industry added roughly 8,800 jobsthe rate of job growth declined significantly the following year. (The industry added just over 5,000 jobs from 2011 to 2012.)
Market forces suggest this dip may be more than a blip: Natural gas has fallen victim to its own success. Fracking has dramatically expanded the natural-gas supply, and as customers pay less for the product, drillers have started to turn to energy sources like oil whose prices are higher and more stable.
That's good news for states like Ohio and North Dakota that sit on fields of the liquid fossil fuelbut bad news for Pennsylvania. It's also a reminder that the energy boom won't last forever.
“Getting an exact count of how many people collect paychecks as a result of fracking, however, is more art than science”....sort if like Obamacare enrollees.
Around here, oil and gas produce primarily truck driving jobs and jobs laying pipes.
The wells are small shallow affairs that don’t require big crews.
Jobs are jobs.
Hmmm...think I'll take Fracking to boost the economy.
How many jobs does cheaper, US-sourced (versus foreign) energy create in all industries? Millions, I would imagine. There’s a reason we have plenty of jobs in Texas whereas places like Upstate New York are suffering.
Are those Jack Russells?
Well, OK, the jobs won’t last forever, so let’s just not bother. And we can’t be sure we can count those jobs accurately so maybe we should wait until somebody from Harvard can make a more accurate model. And having this source of energy at lower cost than liquid petro fuels that require refining that pollutes the air and water, well, that’s no good for anything, the cheaper energy is, the more people use it and that creates global warming and greenhouse gases. And there’s that income inequality thing, you know, the roughnecks out in the fields earn so much more than the waitresses that pour coffee at the diners and restaurants that spring up around fracking-development areas. And those hotels and motels, they use low-skilled workers who don’t earn much. And at no time in America’s history did cheap energy benefit anyone except for big oil.
These and so many others are the same old bullshit arguments that have created our moronic energy policies of the past 50 years.
And Petroleum is Petroleum!
when I first came to work in North Dakota on the Bakken every 5th vehicle was a car, the rest were all trucks.
there is still a huge amount of trucks on the road but it definitely has slowed down.
not that you cannot find a job driving trucks because you can.
as part of the requirement to draw unemployment insurance you have to make 4 job contacts a week.
if you are a truck driver and you apply with 4 companies for a truck driving job, all 4 will call you
A jack Russell and a corgi mix.
The company I work for is headquartered in Kansas...but we have done millions of dollars in work related to fracking.
Directly, we design water lines to get to the wells, and we design man camps for the workers....in North Dakota.
Indirectly, the North Dakota DOT is flush with money and we have done a lot of work for them, I have designed residential subdivisions near Williston,
and then there’s rail - facilities in TX to load sand on trains...facilities in ND to load oil on trains...and all kinds of stuff in between.
I doubt much of our work would be counted in these jobs numbers...but fracking has been huge for this little company a thousand miles away from the oil patch.
One of many companies...
My Apollo is a Chihuahua and Jack Russell mix ("Jack-Chi).
I gotta give Bowser a bath because he plucked a dead fish out of the lake and was smearing it all over himself. Happy as a clam.
There are the drilling and fracking crews the mud crews, and whomever else has to get called in. There are restaurant workers and service people who work to accommodate the crews, and grocery store, variety store, and various entertainment and recreational workers who are enriched. There are fuel and gas companies, and companies that service the oilfield service industry, and then there is the wealth that comes from petroleum distribution and use.
There are revenues to the state, weighed against other revenues generated by employment and incomes that are funded or subsidized by tax dollars.
Modern civilization and economies run on energy, and the more abundant and the cheaper the energy, the more modern civilizations and economies can grow. Many jobs that might seem unrelated to fracking and the petroleum industry will go away when the industry goes away.
Every time someone fills up at the filling station, there are taxes collected that go towards building highways and infrastructure that contribute to economic growth. Fracking is good.
Better questions,"How much revenue does it generate? and,And, BTW,
"Where does that money get spent?Compared to WHAT - Saudi Arabia?"
“It’s also a reminder that the energy boom won’t last forever.”
An American Oil Find That Holds More Than All of OPEC
Nov. 13, 2012
Drillers in Utah and Colorado are poking into a massive shale deposit trying to find a way to unlock oil reserves that are so vast they would swamp OPEC.
A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that if half of the oil bound up in the rock of the Green River Formation could be recovered it would be “equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.”