Shale Headlines Mahoning Valley’s Recent Economic Success
Last week, the 2012 Economic Development Report Card “Valley Economic Update” was released, highlighting the incredible growth the Mahoning Valley has seen since shale development came to the region. Economic development agencies in the area assisted in creating or retaining more than 7,000 jobs in 2012, with total investments exceeding $400 million.
The report shows that the economic development groups were involved in 118 projects equaling $406,542,586 and producing 1,641 new jobs while retaining and maintaining 5,553 jobs. The report also showed that the Youngstown-Warren region’s unemployment numbers were lower than the national averages seven times during the year. The unemployment rate dropped from 9.4 percent in 2011 to 8.1 percent in 2012, and 2,600 jobs were added to the region during 2012. Job increases were seen in manufacturing, with a 1.6 percent increase, trade with 2.6 percent, education and health services with 1.4 percent, and leisure and hospitality with 2.8 percent.
Of major announcements in the area during 2012, oil and gas topped the list, with Pennant Midstream LLC’s plan to spend $300 million on pipeline infrastructure and a natural gas processing plant in eastern Mahoning County. Oil and gas also provided increased attraction when the Youngstown Ohio Utica and Natural Gas Conference & Expo grew to 1.5 days with 120 exhibitors and 1,500 attendees coming to town to discuss opportunities in the burgeoning industry.
Sarah Boyarko, the vice president of economic development retention and expansion for the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber commented on the positive news coming out of the report:
“Year after year, this report continues to present the fact that things are happening in the Valley. Throughout 2012, local companies expanded, new companies came to town and jobs were created” –Sarah Boyarko (12 Development Agencies Report ‘Economic Update’, 6/11/13)
Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley have been a beacon for hope throughout the state since shale began to turn the economic tide in recent years. Not only has housing construction steadily increased both in number and value since the beginning of 2012, but more than $49 million in federal funds have been provided for 51 highway, transit and non-motorized projects in the Mahoning Valley.
All economic aspects of the region are seeing improvements from shale – and it’s Ohio families who are reaping the benefits.