By Erich Schwartzel
Pennsylvania is second only to Texas in the number of workers employed by the unconventional oil and gas industry, according to a report by IHS Global Insight.
The Keystone state had nearly 103,000 people employed in jobs linked to oil and gas extraction, much of which has grown thanks to the development of the state’s Marcellus Shale formation. That number counts workers who are incurring state income tax, which means it can include transient residents who moved here for the job.
Pennsylvania’s oil and gas work force accounts for about 8 percent of all industry jobs associated with resource development across 16 producing states. Texas, which has several established shale plays, had about 576,000 jobs in the industry in 2012.
The report from the Lexington, Mass., research firm puts another number on the controversial question of job creation in Pennsylvania’s developing energy industry.
The report received financial support from several pro-industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute and America’s Natural Gas Alliance, but IHS said it was solely responsible for the findings.
Pennsylvania development added $1.2 billion in state and local revenue in 2012, and shale-sector jobs in the state had an average salary of $81,000, the report found. The average Pennsylvania salary is $44,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The report expects the extraction, or “upstream” process of drilling for shale gas, to support about 220,000 jobs in the state by 2020, with $2.4 billion in annual state revenue and $26.7 billion in economic growth. That job figure could balloon to nearly 390,000 jobs by 2035, the report said.
Job predictions for “downstream” processes that treat and transport the gas will be included in the third and final part of the IHS study on oil and gas, expected to be released in the coming months.