The Far Reach of the Mighty Marcellus
The economic impact Marcellus Shale development is having in Pennsylvania is strong. This is especially true in Bradford, Susquehanna, Tioga, and Wyoming Counties; where unemployment rates are extremely low and businesses continue to grow as a result of Marcellus activity. An example of this can be seen in Bradford County’s 5.6% unemployment rate — the lowest in the Commonwealth. According to the PA Department of Labor nearly 50,000 people have found employment in Marcellus related industries this year alone.
In fact, the Marcellus is having such an impact that over 270 small business owners came together this week in Johnstown and LaPlume, PA to learn about the many opportunities available to do business with natural gas producers and suppliers in the region.
In Johnstown, members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition partnered with Johnstown Area Regional Industries and Catalyst Connection (Regional Industrial Resources Center), to speak directly to small business owners about the needs of the industry and the host of opportunities associated with this fast-growing industry.
U.S. Congressman Mark Critz (D-PA.) summed up the Marcellus impact quite nicely at the event in Johnstown. See his comments below.
The economic development potential is really though the roof. We’re not talking about something that you get into and maybe five, 10 years down the road it’s played out. We’re talking about the next 50, maybe the next 100 years. That there’s going to be work in this.
The La Plume (Lackawanna County) event was hosted by the Scranton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s MetroAction and Keystone College and was equally well attended.
In parts of the state lacking the Marcellus Shale, the natural gas industry is still benefiting local businesses but much of the economy in these areas still needs positive influences to spark growth.
In an effort to fix this divide and, as State Representative Tarah Toohil (R-Butler Township) stated, return the Keystone State to being the Keystone State, the Pennsylvania House Policy Committee held a public hearing on the issue of job creation this week as well.
As you can see from these three events the beneficial impacts from the Marcellus are growing by the day in Pennsylvania.