Growth is happening

If you still have any doubts that the shale oil and gas industry is making an economic impact on our region, we would direct you to a survey recently released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

The numbers show that while the Utica and Marcellus shale industry supported nearly 39,000 jobs in Ohio during 2012, that number could grow to as many as 266,000 jobs by 2035. Even more important than the raw numbers, most of that growth is expected to occur in the local portion of Eastern Ohio, in Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont and Monroe counties.

Looking at it from another angle, as the number of wells and processing facilities in Ohio increases, the industry’s contribution to the state’s economy is expected to grow as well. Last year, the industry directly contributed $4.1 billion into Ohio’s gross state product, a number that is projected to grow to more than $35 billion by 2035.

That growth will have a big impact on other parts of the economy as well, as evidenced by the creation of training programs at Eastern Gateway Community College. Those programs will ensure a well-trained local work force is ready to take advantage of the employment opportunities that come with the expansion of the industry.

Growth in the industry also will have an impact on West Virginia. While the survey indicates that drilling and fracking already are responsible for 11,800 jobs in the Mountain State, that number could reach 58,000 by 2035. In addition, the industry could generate $884 million a year in state and local government revenue by 2035.

When you take a close look at the numbers in the survey, they all add up to a big boost in our region’s economy, which should pay big dividends in the future.