DC Paper Spills the Beans on Job Growth in PA
One of the arguments I hear often is that the only people who benefit from the development of clean-burning natural gas are folks who leased their land or are receiving royalties, and that the Marcellus Shale does not effect the average person in any real way. Well that just isn’t true, as the Washington Times reported on Monday.
All over the Pennsylvania, businesses that were struggling to stay afloat in 2008 are now seeing revenues com in of which they never dreamed, and hiring more employees to accommodate the growing demand for services and laborers. While the article focuses primarily on the southwestern portion of the state and only briefly mentions the Northern Tier, we had the opportunity yesterday to spend the day in Towanda (Bradford County) meeting with different individuals who are witnessing the economic boom first hand (more on that after the jump):
According to the article, “Along Interstate 80 in northeastern Pennsylvania, hotels are being built at a frantic pace. It’s tough to get a room in places such as Towanda in Bradford County — the epicenter of Marcellus Shale drilling in the northern half of the state.” As part of our adventure, we had the pleasure of eating lunch at the Riverstone, a quaint restaurant off Route 6, where the recent influx of people has allowed the owners to open a hotel out back and offer wi-fi to their customers, according to manager Greg Murrelle. People were coming in for lunch and the parking lot was packed the entire time we were there.
Then, as we walked around the downtown area, it was bustling with activity, as people went about their shopping. As someone who lives close to this area, it was amazing to see the positive changes that just a couple of years have brought to Towanda — at a time, remember, that still is among the most difficult in memory for the American economy at large. Take a look at these statistics for more proof:
Bradford County, Pennsylvania used to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, and as the article mentions and we were told at every place we visited yesterday, it now boasts the lowest rate at 5.1 percent — thanks to the many, many the Marcellus has brought to the area. “These towns a few years ago were on their last legs,” said Gene Barr, vice president of government and public affairs at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. But not anymore! Now they’re in full sprint.
Not only are new companies opening in the area and hiring locally, like Chesapeake Energy in Towanda and Cudd Energy Services in Canton, but local businesses are benefiting as well. Restaurants, hotels, gas stations, day cares, grocery stores — you name it. The list can go on forever of the types of businesses that have taken advantage of new opportunities in recent years.
Take a look at the following presentation from the Central Bradford Progress Authority to learn more about the economic development the Mighty Marcellus has enabled in the Northern Tier.
Pennsylvania has the second “oldest’ population in the country after Florida, but the Mighty Marcellus is going to change those figures in coming years. By having not only more jobs available, but higher paying ones, high school and college graduates will be more likely to stay in Pennsylvania to pursue their careers. And, with job projections expected to continue rising well into the year 2063, the upcoming generation is going to have plenty to keep them busy right here in their home state. I, for one, was always told that to get a good job after college, I was going to have to move away — but that’s just not the case anymore. Pennsylvania needs economic growth, job opportunities and the ability to retain our young folks. If Bradford County’s success is any indicator, the Marcellus Shale is a resource that will provide all of that and more, and and opportunity we can’t afford to pass up!