Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jobs and Incentives for a Young, Energetic Workforce in WV

When I wrote about Generation Charleston's Brains for Business bill, several people commented to me and tweeted “what about the jobs?” Well here’s an answer:

Today, WVONGA released a study from the WVU College of Business and Economics, Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) on the significant economic impact of Marcellus shale drilling.

But first, here’s a little background about West Virginia and natural gas. According to the report, from 1906 – 1917, West Virginia lead the nation in natural gas exploration and development. Total told and natural gas employment in West Virginia has been on the rise, yet it accounts for a very small percentage of our state’s total employment, barely 1.5% from 2001-2009.

The Marcellus shale stretches approximately 95,000 square miles from western Maryland, to eastern Ohio and southern New York, to West Virginia. Here at home, the Marcellus shale is between 0-75 feet thick, and in the northern part of the state over 100 feet thick.

According to the WVU report, for 2009, the economic activities associated with the Marcellus created roughly 7,600 jobs for West Virginians and paid $297.9 million in employee compensation. $14.5 million in state taxes came from Marcellus development in 2009.

Even better, it’s possible that Marcellus development created between 7,600 and 8,500 additional jobs here in West Virginia in 2010. By the year 2015, West Virginia could see 19,000 more jobs because of Marcellus development and related activities.

The most impressive thing to me about these numbers is that they’re conservative estimates! The economic benefits of royalty payments, exploration of the Marcellus, bonuses to landowners, pipeline and transportation of the natural gas extract from the Marcellus, and several other factors were not included in the above estimates. For a further look at the report, click here.

So now we’ve got jobs and incentives for a young, energetic workforce to come to West Virginia. Before I hear one more person shut either the Brains for Business bill or job creation through the Marcellus shale development down, what suggestions do you have? I’m happy to listen to complaints, but only if there is light at the end of your complaint tunnel.

West Virginia needs to take action now before its too late. Yes, our economy is more stable and our budget is in better shape than surrounding states, but that will not be the case if we do not continue taking progressive actions.


  1. I notice that your piece doesn't touch on any of the environmental concerns associated with Marcellus production. The industry is growing at such a rapid pace that we have yet to get a full grasp of the environmental effects. Thousands of gallons of chemicals are pumped into the shale during the fracking process to get the shale to release the natural gas. We have to get a handle on the potential effect that could have to our groundwater, lest we run into a situation similar to the coal slurry issues in many southern West Virginia towns. I am all for industry and I don't want to see it over regulated but at the same time we must proceed with an appropriate balance between industry and environment.

  2. I believe you should proceed with real caution. From what I've read & seen of this activity in the U.S., it's poisoning people and animals and isn't regulated enough. Here's more info:

  3. So, does this politicos in stilettos not have a take on the enviro side or in reaching a balance between development and conservation? Would Love to hear it.

  4. She works (through her employer) for an Oil and Gas lobby in West Virginia. I highly doubt there will be a discussion of environmental issues here. After all they want us to believe Natural Gas is good! Even John Corbett made a commercial for them and said as much.

  5. Natural Gas! IT's all good man. (says that dude from nothern exposure)