EXPLAINER | Jobs: how Pennsylvania counts its gas workers
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Jobs: how Pennsylvania counts its gas workers

  A drill worker covered in mud, shale, and drill cuttings seals off a well and cleans the blowout preventer at a Cabot Oil & Gas natural gas drill site in Kingsley, Pa.

Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY

A drill worker covered in the Marcellus Shale seals off a well and cleans the blowout preventer at a Cabot Oil & Gas natural gas drilling site in Kingsley, Pa.

How many people work in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale industry?

According to the state Department of Labor and Industry 19,623 people are employed directly in oil and gas jobs.* To get that number, the department counts workers in these six “core” industries:
  • Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction
  • Natural gas liquid extraction
  • Drilling oil and gas wells
  • Support activities for oil and gas operations
  • Oil and gas pipeline and related structures
  • Pipeline transportation of natural gas

The Department of Labor and Industry recently made major revisions to how it counts other jobs associated with the Marcellus Shale boom.

Previously the agency published a monthly booklet called Marcellus Shale Fact Facts. It showed the direct jobs in the six core industries, plus about 200,000 workers in 30 other ancillary industries. This number captured everyone in those industries– including every road construction worker, trucker, engineer, and steel worker in Pennsylvania. Industry boosters often combined the two figures (core and ancillary) and credited the Marcellus Shale with supporting a quarter-million jobs statewide. Independent economists questioned such estimates. 

In response to StateImpact Pennsylvania’s reporting on this issue, the labor department revised how it counts the jobs in June 2015. It still uses figures from those six core oil and gas industries, but it now relies on an economic modeling software program called IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning) to calculate the indirect jobs effects. The agency now attributes 52,531* jobs to the gas industry.

*Pa. Department of Labor and Industry figures represent the second quarter of 2016 and are not seasonally adjusted.

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