Bradford County was one of the subjects of a recent Pennsylvania State University study analyzing the economic impacts of natural gas development on local economies. The results indicate the county is rising and the quality of life is increasing across the board, making it possible for younger folks to stay there and raise families. Natural gas development is facilitating entrepreneurship for residents, creating job opportunities and complementing traditional businesses, including tourism. Consider the following data from this report:
Bradford County has seen the most Marcellus drilling activity of any Pennsylvania county through the end of 2010. The Commonwealth reports that 482 wells have been drilled since 2008, with 355 in 2010 alone.
One-third of all the Bradford County businesses said that their sales have increased due to drilling activity, and only 3 percent reported that sales had declined.
Contrary to some anecdotes, more firms reported that the number of their nongas customers has increased (10 percent of businesses in Bradford County.
Half of the financial businesses in Bradford County reported higher sales due to natural gas activity, as did 44 percent of retail trade, 38 percent of eating and drinking places, and 33 percent of wholesale trade and business services establishments.
Several types of firms in Bradford County were most likely to report increases in nongas customers, including 40 percent of hotels and campgrounds, 20 percent of financial services firms, and 16 percent of eating and drinking places. The number of employees increased in 75 percent of the Bradford County hotels and campgrounds, 24 percent of eating and drinking places, 22 percent of wholesale firms, and 14 percent of construction companies.
About 29 percent of these tourism-related businesses said that their sales have increased due to natural gas drilling activity, while the other 71 percent reported that their sales had not changed. None of the tourism-related businesses reported a decrease in sales. Sporting goods and bicycle shops were the most likely to report sales increases. Of those tourism-related businesses experiencing increased annual sales, the majority reported that the gas industry sought out the goods/services their businesses offer. None of the businesses reported difficulties in retaining or finding employees.
The results suggest that activity related to Marcellus Shale is having positive impacts, including increased sales, new customers, and higher employment, on many businesseswithin the counties where drilling is occurring.
Not much more needs to be said. Bradford County is rising and it’s attributable to natural gas development.