Marcellus Shale Job Growth

Ending our week with more positive employment news, thanks to shale natural gas drilling, in a report by Wells Fargo Securities' economics group showing that the oil and gas industry's efforts in the Marcellus Shale have not only had a measurable effect on Pennsylvania's economy, but is likely to generate more than 200,000 additional jobs by 2020.

Pennsylvania has added 130,000 jobs since employment bottomed out in February 2010, one-third of them in education and health care. The state's economy is growing faster than it did at any point during the past decade, the report said.

Although the natural resources and mining sector employs less than 1 percent of the state's workforce, it accounted for 8 percent of recent job growth, the study said.

Employment in the 14 counties where drilling is most prevalent is already above its pre-recession peak, a result the study ties to the economic impact of natural gas drilling. For every percentage point of employment growth in shale counties, employment in Pennsylvania's other counties rises by 0.27 percent, the study found.

The study calculated optimistic, pessimistic and midpoint scenarios for Pennsylvania employment through 2020. The midpoint scenario predicts employment growth of 570,000 jobs, of which 200,000 can be attributed to the shale industry and its spillover effects.