The Marcellus Shale Boom: Boosting Wages by 36 Percent
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The Marcellus Shale is a rock formation in the east, covering a large swath of Pennsylvania. It is also home to vast amounts of natural gas, production of which — thanks to fracking and new drilling techniques — has increased threefold between July 2011 and July 2014.
Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute explains the remarkable growth in energy production in the region. Since 2007, when the shale boom first started, production of natural gas in the Marcellus region has increased 14 times, rising from 1 billion cubic feet per day to 15 billion cubic feet per day in July 2014. According to the Energy Information Administration, production will continue to increase into August.
A report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics identifies the impact that natural gas production has had on Pennsylvania.
– While overall employment in Pennsylvania dropped by 1.3 percent from 2007 to 2012, employment in the oil and gas industry rose by 259 percent (an increase of 15,114 jobs).
– Similarly, average annual wages increased by 11.9 percent ($5,158) in Pennsylvania over the 2007 to 2012 period. But in the oil and gas industry, wages rose by 36.3 percent ($22,104).
Perry notes that the shale boom’s effects extend beyond oil and gas. In addition to the new jobs brought by energy production, local landowners have received royalty payments, the housing and hotel industry have boomed, and local retail has benefited from increased spending on goods and services.
The NCPA has previously written about the Marcellus Shale, which many have labeled the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. Fracking has enabled the United States to open up large natural gas reserves that would otherwise be unrecoverable, and the Marcellus Shale reserve is just one of several formations in the United States that offer remarkable energy possibilities.
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