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Energy and Independence

By October 3, 2011Newsletters

Over the past five years, we have been watching the economic development that is a consequence of investments by energy companies into the Marcellus Shale, spanning Western and Central Pennsylvania, Southern New York, Eastern Ohio, and West Virginia, and have noted primary and secondary impacts of successful drilling into these shale reserves.

The following are among the economic impacts that we see:

  • Shale production in the U.S. has increased 14-fold, according to the Marcellus Quarterly, Fall 2011, and will continue to rise as new reserves, such as the Utica, are discovered and explored
  • Hotel occupancy is up, as is construction of homes/condos in the area as people flock to the Marcellus Shale to find work and need housing
  • Unemployment is down significantly in this area – for example, Morgantown, WV unemployment has dropped from 7.0% in Feb 2011 to 5.0% in July 2011
  • Manufacturing is returning to the area – a $650M investment in steel-making capacity is going into Youngstown, Ohio to manufacture pipelines for oil and gas production and delivery
  • Small businesses are back on the rise – restaurants and work clothes outfitters are seeing rising sales in order to meet increases in demand

Humor also seems to be in vogue in these burgeoning oilfield towns across the country: while driving through Western PA recently, I saw this bumper sticker on a car with Oklahoma plates: “Oilfield Trash Making Oilfield Cash.” Seems that in areas where there is economic development, there is also a rising tide of self-deprecating humor!

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