For those seeking to gain employment with the natural gas industry in the Ohio Valley, there is conflicting news this week. First, the good news is that the Wheeling Intelligencer is reporting that Dominion will be opening a new plant in the Moundsville area that should hire 40 – 50 people. The new plant scheduled to open in 2012 will be a processing center that will be supplied gas by Chesapeake Energy. So, for those looking to move into the industry this should be a good opportunity with the right combination of education and skills.
In more ambiguous news, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that it is hard to actually measure the jobs created by proliferation of natural gas drilling. The article, which focuses on the growth rate in Pennsylvania, states that jobs are being created, mostly of blue collar types such as truck drivers and construction workers, but that it is difficult to measure this growth. The article cites reports claiming that range on job growth related to Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. Some reports claim as many as 140,000 while others show only 6,000. I think that the important thing to note is that the Marcellus Shale is creating jobs but it not enough creating enough, or, as the article points out, these jobs belong to out of state workers:
“None of the job figures break out whether jobs created in Pennsylvania go to Pennsylvanians. Gas companies have employed many out-of-state workers with more drilling experience, who are likely to spend a good chunk of their income at home, muting the economic benefits to Pennsylvania.”
So the questions still remain does the proliferation of drilling create jobs or just transplant workers? Will investing in the Marcellus Shale creating lasting economic growth for northern West Virginia or will this be similar to the situation in the southern coal fields where industries rapes the land and the people taking what they want without contributing to the regions development?