Friday, October 09, 2009

echos of Pittsburgh past

This just goes with the post earlier in the week on the Marketplace pieces talking to former steel workers in Pittsburgh.  Cleveland PD has a story:  Former auto workers face bleak future

and nothing much to do with Cleveland, but they did have an AP story on developments in the natural gas industry... no, not stuff goingon with Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale, but developments on the other side of the globe. It's a datapoint to keep some of the exuberance over natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania in check.  Lots going on in the global natural gas industry, some of which could be considered disruptive.  Thus one of the reasons natural gas prices are plumeting which has to dampen some of the development potential.  Some Pennsylvania developments are already being turned off at least for now.

Which leads to another thought I had.  It's a minor mystery to me why the talk about all the development activity in Marcellus Shale does not jump out at you when you look at employment stats in impacted industries for the state. I don't doubt the activity you can't help but hear about, and I myself long ago noticed the Schlumberger trucks tooling through the Pennsylvania outback, well before the frenzy was so obvious all around....  So I have a theory.  A lot of this initial wave of development has to be generating employment, but for folks who are coming here for that work, it may not be folks showing up in our employment stats (at least yet).  That Schlumberger truck was likely for a firm and for workers residing elsewhere. At some point that development moves from from early stage exploration and settles in. At that point you will expect to see the migration of 'oil men' and more show folks in those industries will begin to show up in local employment stats. 

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