Shale boom has created 4,000 jobs in the Valley , Chamber asserts

Shale boom has created 4,000 jobs in the Valley , Chamber asserts

I am writing in response to a letter published Jan. 19 by Courtney Cousins of Columbus. She raises questions about the actual economic impact of the oil and gas drilling boom on Ohio and suggests that the industry’s so-called temporary jobs aren’t worth the concerns she has with the industry.

Ms. Cousins is among several anti-shale development people who pooh-pooh the jobs being created by the oil and gas industry and its supply chain in Ohio. Well, here are the real facts about the actual economic impact of the oil and gas industry — at least for the Mahoning Valley. To say the least, it’s been a game-changer for our economy.

Since 2010, the Mahoning Valley and adjacent areas have seen at least 4,000 direct and indirect jobs created from shale development and an investment of more than $5 billion.

The Chamber has counted 25 job creation and investment projects related to the oil and gas industry since 2010, when Vallourec Star first announced it would build a new stainless steel pipe mill in the old Brier Hill Works area along U.S. Route 422. Vallourec ultimately spent more than $1 billion on the new advanced manufacturing facility that provides 350 direct jobs and about 1,800 indirect jobs.

The list of oil and gas-related projects that we’ve compiled includes 10 companies that announced supply-chain expansion or attraction projects; six companies expanding or establishing new service operations for the industry; five significant pipeline/processing plant projects; and four investments by oil- and gas-producing companies. The list doesn’t include the many hundreds and thousands of construction jobs created of the number of actual drilling jobs created.

Since the announcements of jobs and investment in the Valley began in 2010, the Youngstown-Warren Metro Area’s jobless rate has fallen from more than 13 percent to about 8 percent.

It’s amazing to me that we still have a small segment of the population making false statements that the industry is not generating jobs. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’m happy to see that most Valley residents support the oil and gas industry because they believe the industry is acting responsibly in protecting the environment and ensuring safety for their workers and because the industry is spurring job growth and investment, the likes of which the Valley hasn’t seen in generations.

Tom Humphries, Youngstown

The writer is president and CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.