MSETC Issues Statewide Workforce Needs Assessment

Date: August 2, 2011

The total number of direct jobs needed to keep pace with the growth of the industry is expected to range from 18,596 to 30,684, including 9,800 to 15,900 new positions.

The following article is from Penn College of Technology, July 20.

The Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center has released a study assessing
the direct workforce needs required to support Marcellus Shale development in
Pennsylvania from 2011-14. The total number of direct jobs needed to keep pace
with the growth of the industry is expected to range from 18,596 to 30,684,
including 9,800 to 15,900 new positions.

The study expands two prior regional studies published by the MSETC, a
collaborative venture between Pennsylvania College of Technology and Penn State
Cooperative Extension. It outlines the key occupations associated with natural
gas development in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania, as well as the
number of direct jobs that will be needed to bring a gas well into production
between 2011 and 2014.

The purpose of the study is to provide individuals, job seekers, communities,
businesses, workforce- and economic-development professionals, and government
officials at all levels with the ability to estimate the direct workforce
requirements for Marcellus Shale development.

The study reveals that energy companies operating in Pennsylvania are projecting a 60-percent increase in the number of wells being drilled by 2014 compared with 2011. The
model utilized for the study indicates that each well requires a workforce of
approximately 420 individuals working across 150 different occupations. The
resulting impact on Pennsylvania\’s job market will be significant. The study\’s
method for forecasting jobs is based on rig counts and wells to be drilled. The
companies have forecast rig counts in ranges rather than specific numbers,
resulting in job estimates also being provided in ranges.

The study breaks down the growth impact by regions within Pennsylvania. Job growth
in northeast Pennsylvania, which already has seen tremendous initial expansion,
is forecast to increase at a relatively moderate rate.

In the southwest region of the state, the rate of growth will be significant, as the
industry works to build more infrastructure for gas processing. With the recent
dramatic increase in interest in high-BTU gas, and the premium price commanded
for liquids-rich natural gas, the southwest region appears poised for
resurgence in shale gas development related to the Marcellus, Utica and other
Upper Devonian Shale formations.

The northwest region of the Pennsylvania will see an increase in the number of
wells drilled. Growth in the northwest has been limited thus far and will
initially be concentrated at the southern and eastern boundaries of that

There has been no drilling activity in the southeastern region of Pennsylvania;
however, there will be an increase there in the growth of service industries
supporting the natural gas industry.

The study also notes the growing number of Pennsylvania residents in the natural
gas industry workforce statewide. Since the technologies used in development
are relatively new, the early stages of development in Pennsylvania relied
heavily on out-of-state employees with experience and knowledge developing
high-pressure natural gas. Although there still is tremendous variability
across energy, service and support companies associated with natural gas
development, the study\’s interviews and survey data reveal the percentage of
new industry employees who are Pennsylvania residents averages between 65
percent and 75 percent.

The assessment focuses solely on the direct workforce needs of the industry and
does not include indirect or induced employment impacts. The projections are
not intended to serve as a measure of the total employment created by Marcellus
Shale natural gas development or to estimate the economic impact of such
development. Other recently released workforce studies estimate overall
employment and economic impact of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania using
“multipliers” to estimate job creation in sectors other than those directly
associated with bringing a Marcellus well into production (lodging, food and
retail, for example).

The report provides the best current estimate of the direct workforce required to
bring a Marcellus well into production, and it should be viewed as a subset of
total employment created by Marcellus Shale development. No industry funds were
used in developing the assessment.

For a full copy of the report, visit  online or contact the MSETC at 570-327-4775.


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Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.