The results of an annual survey show that shale development is leading to Pennsylvania’s lowest unemployment rate since 2008. The Marcellus Shale Coalition’s annual workforce survey findings, based on 2013 data, were provided by a large majority of the group’s member companies, representing nearly 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s shale production.
“Shale development represents a generational opportunity for [Pennsylvania],” said coalition president Dave Spigelmyer. “Since day one, our industry has focused on fostering the growth of a skilled and well-trained local workforce to ensure that lifelong opportunities are being fully realized.”
Spigelmyer said the Marcellus Shale Coalition works collaboratively with industry groups, member companies and other key stakeholders, as well as educational institutions and trade schools, to deliver new jobs for the region’s workforce, which he said is “reflected again in this survey data.”
The survey breaks down the job categories where new hires are working, showing:
- 26.5 percent of new hires work in engineering and construction,
- 23 percent in equipment operations,
- 15.2 percent in operations and maintenance,
- 8 percent in administration,
- 7 percent in land, and
- 5 percent in environmental, health & safety.
The survey reported that 83 percent of new hires came from Marcellus shale states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New York and Maryland. The survey also includes data on the positions most difficult to fill, workforce diversity and recruitment methods and challenges, including educational and professional training needs.
According to the survey data, Marcellus Shale Coalition member companies expect to hire more than 2,000 new employees in 2014. The survey also indicates that the majority of new hires are in three sub-sectors and are weighted more so in southwestern Pennsylvania: engineering and construction; midstream and pipeline; and operations and maintenance.
“Attracting and retaining a high-quality, local workforce is a key tenet of our guiding principles,” Spigelmyer said. “By nearly all metrics, and with Pennsylvania’s unemployment at its lowest level since September 2008 and well below the national average, we continue to make positive progress on this important commitment.”
Although Spigelmyer said some challenges still exist for the industry, the annual workforce survey helps identify gaps to refine and better direct the coalition’s collective efforts to increase local job growth in the coming years.