New Castle News

June 26, 2012

Lawrence Corvi: Study forecasts more jobs from Marcellus Shale

Lawrence Corvi
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — More jobs and tax money from Marcellus Shale natural gas is forecast for state and local government in Pennsylvania.

A study released by IHS Global Insight forecasts jobs tied to Marcellus Shale development in Pennsylvania will jump 375 percent by 2035, surpassing 270,000 jobs. In previous columns, I have mentioned experts have said Pennsylvania is just at the beginning of a 100-year run of jobs and new economic wealth from Marcellus Shale development. The IHS Global Insight Study lends support to this optimistic economic forecast for our state.

According to IHS Global Insight Pennsylvania estimated gas jobs in 2010 totaled 57,000 and by 2015, 111,000 jobs are forecast.

IHS Global Insight is a leading economic analysis and forecasting firm. More than 600 economists, statisticians and industry specialists in offices worldwide make up IHS.

Also I have noted Pennsylvania could become one of the premiere energy centers in the United States and even world wide. Consider nuclear research being done in the Cranberry area by Westinghouse and what is coming to Pennsylvania with Marcellus Shale jobs and related plants. And the coal industry and research we now so much about.

The HIS study supports this forecast. It shows Pennsylvania third in jobs nationwide tied to unconventional gas-producing states and second only to Texas by 2035.

Between now and 2035, the IHS study says Pennsylvania and Colorado will lead the nation in annual job growth. Pennsylvania is forecast for 14 percent compound annual growth.

And we are getting loads of new money in taxes paid by natural gas developers. Previously I noted the state collected over $419 million in 2011, according to Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley. The IHS study says the state collected $641 million in 2010 that went tostate and local governments.

How is this new tax money benefiting Pennsylvanians? It paid for 6 percent of the state’s transportation budget and 7 percent of public safety and criminal justice. That’s money Pennsylvanians did not have to spend.

The IHS study projects the gas industry will pay $2.4 billion in state and local taxes by 2020.

These numbers suggest a lot of good news is coming our way. More of our sons and daughters will find employment here and not have to leave Pennsylvania for good-paying jobs elsewhere. The average natural gas worker is said to earn $77,000 yearly.

With more good-paying jobs here, we may end our population slide. Younger families staying here will provide more income needed to support infrastructure and other needs elderly citizens cannot afford.

If we end our population decline, we will gain or at least hold our representation in Washington. This will give us new leverage to get our share of federal dollars. Hey politics is all about money and even though Washington needs to tighten its spending, there are still many federal dollars we will have more clout to seek.

Governor Corbett and a coalition of Democratic and Republican leaders announced Friday an agreement on tax credits for the newly proposed petro-chemical plant for Monaca. It seems Harrisburg sees what the natural gas industry expansion can do for Pennsylvania.

(Lawrence Corvi is publisher of the New Castle News. Contact him by calling (724) 654-6651, ext. 648, or e-mail him at lcorvi@ncnewsonline.com)