Employment in Shale-related Industries Fell in Most Recent Year

I will be on the Pennsylvania Cable Network Call-In Program Tuesday discussing the latest on the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling on Pennsylvania's economy. So you can bet that I will be talking about new data giving us our first detailed glimpse of Marcellus Shale-related employment trends in Pennsylvania. The data for the first quarter of 2013 come from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The more current but less detailed employment data from Current Employment Statistics has been signaling weakness in employment growth in Mining and Logging for some time now. For example, in the most recent state employment report for August, Mining and Logging employment in Pennsylvania was down by about 900 jobs in the last year.

So these new but more detailed data merely confirm that the drop off in new drilling has led to a fall in shale-related employment. Table 1 below presents Marcellus Shale-related employment growth by each detailed sector. Most of the recent decline in employment has been in Drilling Oil & Gas Wells & Support Activities for Oil & Gas Operations. While employment in drilling has fallen off, employment in pipeline construction was essentially unchanged over the last year. If natural gas prices and new drilling remain low, it will be interesting to see whether employment in pipeline construction remains high or if it also starts to fall off.

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