Review of Baretta, Brundage, Jacquet, Ladlee, and Michael’s, “Direct Job Creation in West Virginia’s Marcellus Shale,” by Kyle DeShong and Matthew Rousu

 

The study is not a traditional economic impact analysis, but rather a study to determine the number and types of jobs created that are directly attributable to Marcellus Shale drilling in West Virginia.  The study does not include any indirect or induced jobs that could have been created in local restaurants, hotels, and businesses.  The goal of this paper is to provide insight into what type of training and education would be required for the various jobs that will be available because of Marcellus Shale drilling.

This study was estimated for the years 2011 to 2014.  This study used a model developed by the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology along with extensive interviewing and surveying of drilling companies in relation to their future plans to determine the number of wells likely to exist in each year from 2011 to 2014.  The study concludes that West Virginians are not occupying the skilled jobs within the industry, and workers for those jobs are coming from other states.  The authors provide several recommendations for education programs for West Virginians. 

This is a useful study.  Our main comment is that the recommendations for jobs could change dramatically if there are changes in market conditions, but the study does acknowledge this.  The authors mention that the industry is very dependent on the price of inputs, and notes that the model used can easily be recalibrated, if necessary.