Exaggerating employment from fracking

A just-published study from the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative, a group of independent, nonpartisan research and policy organizations in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, tells us something that many readers probably already suspected: that industry claims of the number of jobs to be created in the fracking industry are greatly exaggerated. The most interesting part of the Collaborative’s report is that a non-governmental organization in the labour market statistics business is undertaking this kind of analysis. Proponents of large projects promising multitudinous new jobs might be well advised to take note that a similar well-researched challenge could be coming their way.

Findings include:

  • While shale-related employment has made a positive contribution to job growth, the number of jobs created is far below industry claims and remains a small share of overall employment in the region.
  • Many of the core extraction jobs existed before the emergence of hydrofracking.
  • Drilling is highly sensitive to price fluctuations, which means that job gains may not be lasting.

The 32 page report leads a member of the Collaborative to claim that “Industry supporters have exaggerated the jobs impact in order to minimize or avoid altogether taxation, regulation, and even careful examination of shale drilling,” Another spokesperson is quoted as saying “Shale drilling has made little difference in job growth in any of the six states we studied. We know this because we now have data on what happened, not what industry supporters hoped would happen.”

The report, and a press release which includes a summary of findings, are available at http://www.multistateshale.org/

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