UPDATE (3/17/2015; 5:35 pm ET): Last week, during a breakfast presentation, the Washington County Chamber of Commerce unveiled its annual economic update for Washington County, Pennsylvania – the “Energy Capital of The East.” The report showed that shale development continued to boost the county’s economy through 2014.
According to Washington County Commissioner, Harlan Shober:
“The numerous tourism attractions, as well as business conducted by the energy industry, were responsible for generating $754.7 million in direct visitor spending in 2013, and supported 5,957 jobs.”
In 2013 the county attracted 105 economic development projects that accounted for over $1.1 billion in capital investment. This past year, the county saw an increase in new projects and capital investment. Larry Maggi, Chairman of the Washington County Board stated:
“The county attracted 111 economic development projects and $1.4 billion in capital investment last year.”
Maggi went on to say:
“Our positive economic growth, new jobs and low taxes have many people in our country talking about Washington County – there is truly no other county experiencing our growth in this region.”
—Original post, June 19, 2014—
With Washington County, Pa., ranking first in the greater Pittsburgh region for both natural gas wells developed and permits issued in 2013, it’s truly living up to its name: “Energy Capital of the East.” Thanks in no small part to an energy boom – fueled by shale development – the county attracted 105 economic development projects that accounted for over $1.1 billion in capital investment in 2013.
Larry Maggi, Chairman of the Washington County Board stated:
“Washington County continues to lead the Greater Pittsburgh Region in terms of economic development projects, energy production and job creation. In 2013, our business community announced $1,100,521,000 in new capital investment which will account for an additional 2,080 jobs in Washington County. This tremendous growth in business investment and job creation was driven by numerous sectors of our economy-energy, technology, commercial/industrial development, hospitality and manufacturing.”
Thanks to the large investments from the oil and natural gas industry, as well as impact fee money generated by responsible development, Washington County has been able to enjoy the vast opportunities beneath their feet and put hardworking Americans back to work. Since peaking in 2010, unemployment in Washington County has been on a downward trend, which now ranks below the national average and currently stands as the second lowest rate for the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area.
Shale development in Washington County has also been credited with vast contributions to the tourism industry. According to County Commissioner Harlan G. Shober, Jr., in 2006 direct spending dollars in Washington County were $333 million, which was prior to the tremendous influx of jobs and workers in the natural gas field. Shober went on to say:
“In their most recent report, the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development found that in 2012 direct visitor spending dollars in Washington County was $740.7 million up from $669.2 million in 2011. This is a nearly 11 percent increase.”
Besides doubling direct spending since shale development moved into the region, Washington County’s tourism industry supports 5,840 jobs and generated over $149.4 million in federal and state revenues in 2013.
Economic development projects, fueled by shale development in Washington County, are helping to shake the rust off the Rust Belt by putting more of our men and women back to work. Due to this economic upturn, President Obama has now visited our region twice to tout the renaissance of manufacturing jobs, which of course are fueled by cheap abundant natural gas. The full economic impact of shale development has only begun to scratch the surface, and we can expect counties like Washington to reap these vast benefits for decades to come.