It Is an Undeniable Fact that I Am an Uber Responsible Private-Sector Labor Market Analysis Machine

A blog post by Mark Price, originally published at Third and State.

A while back the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry released a new version of its Marcellus Shale Fast Facts, which prompted a statement from Kathryn Klaber of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC):

This new data further reinforces the undeniable fact that responsible American natural gas production is an unmatched private sector job creation machine.

So let's take a look at what the numbers say. Figure 1 presents on the left axis total employment in the Marcellus core industries by quarter from the fourth quarter of 2007 to first quarter of 2011 (the most recent data available).

On the right axis, the percent change from the previous quarter in total employment in that sector (the red line).

On a quarterly basis, employment growth in this sector is volatile, ranging from negative 5% in the first quarter of 2009 to an increase of more than 20% in the second quarter of 2010.

Between the first quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, the Marcellus core created 7,328 jobs. Total nonfarm employment over the same period increased by just over 87,000 jobs.

Figure 2 presents similar data for what Labor and Industry defines as Marcellus ancillary, industries where some employment might be affected by Marcellus drilling. There is much less growth in the Marcellus ancillary data and, in particular, growth is consistently negative in the first quarter of each year. This is a tell-tale sign of significant seasonality in the data. So data users will want to be careful not to compare different quarters when trying to evaluate the pace of growth in the Marcellus ancillary industries.

With the Labor and Industry release, we also got a new round of the new hire numbers (xls):

  • There were 379 additional new hires (a 22% increase) in the Marcellus core industries between the second quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2011. 
  • In the Marcellus ancillary industries, there were 1,980 additional new hires (a 14% increase).

To put these numbers in context:

  • New hires in all industries increased by 43,100 (or 8%) over the same period;
  • Transportation, Warehouses & Utilities gained 4,200 (a 17.8% increase);
  • Administration & Waste Services, a sector that includes temporary agencies, added 23,300 new hires (a 24.3% increase);
  • Arts, Entertainment & Recreation added 3,700 new hires (a 15.2% increase).

In a future post, I will present what we know about county-level employment trends.

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