Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Think Tank Disputes Shale Jobs Numbers

Reports published by the Marcellus Shale Coalition and other pro shale industry groups in April touted the creation of 48,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania thanks to the growing shale industry, now, the left-leaning Keystone Research Group says the number is “vastly overstated.” The jobs were reportedly created between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2011.

The Keystone Research Center reviewed the numbers and Executive Director Steve Herzenberg found the 48,000 number was the number of “new hires” not the number of “new jobs.” “In every industry there are a lot of new hires and a lot of quits and firings and retirements, which economists call separations, If you want to figure out what the actual job change is you have to look at both the hires and the separations, that gives you the change in jobs,” said Herzenberg.

Herzenberg believes the number is closer to 10,000 new jobs created. “When you are looking at your bank account it would be nice if you could look just at deposits but if you want an accurate picture of what’s happening with your account you have to look at the withdrawals as well,” said Herzenberg.

The Marcellus shale coalition responded by noting that many of the jobs created where in counties with higher than average unemployment and that many of the jobs in the shale industry pay well above the state average. Herzenberg does not dispute those numbers and admits that any new job is a good job in a soft economy. Herzenberg does however dispute the Shale Coalition’s claim that the report was politically timed to impact the debate over taxing the industry.

“The report that was misinterpreted came out in April, the series of press reports… came out in the very end of May, We’re a small think tank and it took us a little while to put together the briefing paper that explains carefully this misinterpretation.” Said Herzenberg.

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