A housing boom, a construction boom, a job boom. All these booms are symptoms of Marcellus Shale impact in West Virginia.
Back to building
In some areas construction projects have dwindled, are stalled, or will never happen. Nationwide, the number of construction jobs has dropped in nearly half of the 337 metropolitan areas from June 2011 to June 2012 according to a report released last week by the Associated General Contractors of America.
That’s not the case in the Marcellus Shale region of West Virginia. Construction employment increased in 127 metro areas— including West Virginia overall and the Charleston metro area. In fact, statewide West Virginia added 2,600 construction jobs in the last year boasting an 8 percent increase over 2011.
Until this year’s boost in construction jobs in the state, West Virginia’s construction employment had dropped 19 percent during the three years prior.
A lot of the construction is attributed to Marcellus Shale.
Raising the Roof
With new workers comes the need for new housing options. As the Marcellus Shale boom grows in West Virginia, so does its housing demands.
These days, homes are going for $2,000 a month that once went for $600 (that’s more than double). And RV parks are cropping up all over towns that were once quiet and vast with land.
From Brooke County to Doddridge County, the region is booming, growing, and hopping. While Western Pennsylvania waits for its potential Shell Plant in Beaver County, northcentral West Virginia is getting several billion dollars of investment in a network that includes miles of pipelines and at least seven processing plants.
The six-county strip from Brooke to Doddridge added 10 drilling rigs in the past year in a six-county strip, and there are billions of dollars worth of pipelines and processing plants led by three big players: Williams, MarkWest, and Dominion.
Although booms can be a good thing for a state that needs one, wearing shoes before they fit can cause one to trip.
There are many concerns about a boom of any kind in small towns. Residents, officials, and professionals have to be able to handle growth at rapid speeds when it comes to public health and safety. They also have to be ready to accommodate the increase in traffic, housing, and the cost of living. Congestion becomes a main factor when rapid growth prevails.
As towns grow, so does everything in them. Schools, shopping centers, and hospitals are all areas which might see growth because of Marcellus Shale.
One thing is for sure, Marcellus Shale is bringing a lot of change to West Virginia.