New Castle News


February 25, 2013

Education Options, Part 2: Current shale boom casts new light on county’s economic future



Only a fraction of jobs actually would be in the gas industry; most would be in different industries related to shale gas company spending. Remaining jobs would be “indirect jobs” and “induced jobs” created through the economic spillover effects.

Some of them will include:

•Pre- and drilling phase jobs, including temporary positions, which could last 10 or more years, such as technical positions such as geological studies, IT/mapping, legal, environmental/permitting.

•There also will be on-site jobs that are labor intensive and could be transient in nature and require skilled and semi-skilled labor or on-the-job training or cetifications.

•Production phase jobs including managing and maintaining producing wells. “Wet gas” requires processing that results in addition jobs.

In a few years, when the drilling stops, some workers will have to go where the jobs move, but Chamberlain said, “There are tons of other jobs.”

More than 400 individuals within nearly 150 different occupations are needed to complete and produce gas from a Marcellus Shale well.

There were more than 230,000 employees in Marcellus and related industries as of 2012, including 87,800 hired since 2009.

The average core industry wage of $89,000 per year is more than double of the current average wage in the state.

Core industry positions include crude petroleum and natural gas extraction, drilling oil and gas wells, support activities of oil and gas operations and pipeline transportation of natural gas.

Accillary industries will provide many other jobs, including non residential site preparation contractors, trucking, commericial and industrial machine and equipment repair, water supply, sewage treatment facilities and infrastructure in engineering services.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry estimates that the average ancillary wage to be $65,000 — $17,000 above the state’s average wage.

Southwest Pennsylvania and Ohio are projected to have the highest demand for new hires.


January’s unemployment rate in Pennsylvania, according to the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, was 7.9 percent. But it was 8.4 percent in Lawrence County and even higher (10.9 percent) in New Castle.

No manufacturing companies are on the newest list of Lawrence County’s largest employers, but that could soon change as the Marcellus Shale boom continues to expand.

Six of the top 10 jobs in the United States are related to manufacturing. Some require degrees, but many don’t. Skilled trades top the list, followed by engineers, IT staff, sales representatives, accounting and finances, drivers, mechanics, nurses, machinists and machine operators, and teachers.

According to Michelle Hoffman, branch manager of Manpower of Hermitage, there just over 30 well applications in Lawrence County as compared to approximately 800 in Washington County.

More than a third of employers around the world say they are having trouble filling positions due to lack of suitable talent. That is because the global demand for highly skilled labor continues to grow, and the skills distribution of available workers doesn’t match that demand.

“Companies must adjust just as much as workers and job seekers,” Chamberlain said.

Studies show that a 38-year-old in today’s workforce will have held between 10 to 14 jobs.

The workforce is aging and Hoffman and things could get worse before they get better.

According to estimates, more than 10,000 babyboomers are leaving the workforce every day, taking valuable skills and knowledge with them.

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