A recent IHS report indicates that shale-related employment will grow 14 percent each year in Pennsylvania through 2015. Drilling in Pennsylvania will support 111,000 jobs that year, a number that is expected to climb to 270,058 by 2035.
There is plenty of buzz surrounding shale and whether it will help create the jobs necessary to contribute to economic recovery. The IHS report estimates unconventional gas extraction nationwide will support nearly 1.5 million jobs in 2015.
The majority of economic activity generated by unconventional gas production is expected to occur in the 20 states with natural gas resources. In these producing states, unconventional gas activity was responsible for creating more than 826,000 jobs in 2010. The report indicates that these states will add nearly 400,000 additional jobs between 2010 and 2015.
In both 2010 and 2015, the top 10 producing states account for approximately 84 percent of the employment gains that will be generated by all of the producing states, with Texas and Louisiana gaining the most. Between 2010 and 2015, the overall annual growth rate in employment for unconventional gas activity will be approximately 7.7 percent. Pennsylvania and Colorado will lead in terms of compound annual employment growth, experiencing roughly 14 percent and 10 percent growth, respectively.
An interesting finding from this study is the fact that the economic contributions from unconventional gas activity are not limited to states that contain resources. California does not directly produce unconventional gas, but the state’s activity associated with unconventional gas production supported nearly 23,000 jobs in California in 2010. That number is expected to increase to more than 33,000 jobs by 2015 and will more than double to nearly 49,500 by 2035.
Is shale-related employment helping to lower the U.S. unemployment rate? Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic data, the U.S. unemployment rate registered 9.6 percent in 2010. All of the top producing states—except for Michigan and Ohio—have shown lower unemployment than the national average.