New Data: Job Growth In Marcellus Shale Slows Again In Last Quarter of 2012

Mark Price |

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data Thursday from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for the fourth quarter of 2012 — which means we can expect shortly a new version of Marcellus Fast Facts from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. While we wait for that new release, here is a quick preview of what the new data say.

Please note the numbers summarized below are for private-sector employers only and, thus, are not strictly comparable to Labor and Industry job counts that include both private- and public-sector workers in oil and gas extraction-related industries.

Between the fourth quarter of 2011 and 2012, employment related to oil and gas extraction in Pennsylvania increased by 1,141 jobs, an increase of 3% (see Table 1).

That figure lagged the national increase of 8% (55,704 jobs) over the same period. It is also down from the previous year (2010-Q4 to 2011-Q4) when employment increased by 10,164 jobs, or 54% (nationally, employment in this sector over the same period increased by 15%).

Job growth in natural gas extraction has slowed as falling gas prices have lead to a reduction in drilling activity in Pennsylvania.

P.S. You may notice that the data in Table 1 go all the way back to 1990, long before the discovery of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. This is because the way the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry defines employment related to Marcellus gas extraction also picks up employment in conventional oil and gas extraction. Our best guess is that the increase in employment in this sector since 2008 is mostly related to Marcellus extraction.

P.P.S. You may also notice that what is not reported here that is reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry is employment in Ancillary Industries. It is our view that the industries identified in the Ancillary category pick up a tremendous amount of non-gas related economic activity. As such, when measuring the change in employment in the Ancillary category since 2008, it is impossible to separate out job growth resulting from the broader economic recovery and job growth driven by Marcellus related employment growth.