Diaspora notes and of course Marcellus
Just one of the stranger diaspora stories in some time via news from a place called Zzyzx, California. Kind of fasincating what ex-Pittsburghers wind up doing.
but on (potentially) future Pittsburghers. Even on vacation Jim R. points out a really curious Press Release which as best as I can tell is from a firm in Central PA that is trying to take advantage of the Marcellus hype developing some B2B work for the firms and people coming into the state from elsewhere. Could be a worthwhile business model, but also as Jim alludes to in passing, the numbers cited are a bit odd, or at the very least don't add up just on the surface. The quote of note is:
Laura Fisher, Senior Vice President of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development stated recently that 70% of the drilling workforce is not local to Pennsylvania. According to DEP, there was an average of 112 wells drilled per month in 2010. Penn State's State Cooperative Extension Division says that it takes approximately 400 individuals to drill a well. Based on these statistics, one can easily estimate that there are easily over 10,000 gas workers in Pennsylvania from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado and Wyoming.Which is not news in itself. We know pretty well that the Marcellus workforce is mostly from out of state, but I am more convinced than before that the temporary workers flowing through the airport here is the only reason the airport traffic number saw a small increase of late. That was really the story behind those numbers I bet if anyone wanted to poke at it. .It says a very different thing about whether it was really a good thing or not for the region in a long term sense.
And I think most people know that when it comes to measuring economic impact, construction jobs, or jobs associated with an initial investment, are very different than jobs that represent permanent job creation. The "400 individuals to drill a well" are not 400 net new jobs for the economy since that isn't even 400 person-years of employment. A lot of those 400 workers will only devote a short period of time to a particular well and move on to another.
On the bigger picture though. WashPo has a look at the oveall recession migration pattern across the nation.
Finally on 'Burgh migration: NPR makes famous someone's mother back in India.
and for the now obligatory daily Marcellus Musing: Forbes has some important musing of its own on the future of Range Resources. Something a bit obscure, but what may be more telling than the headlines that get repeated ad nauseum is what is happening in the pipeline industry as a result of Marcellus Shale. Read carefully this news from Canada today: Gas foundation crumbling
and I showed up to hear what was to be said at a meeting on Marcellus issues in Lawrenceville. A representative from one of the large driller confirmed what I think was obvious that most players have backed off active drilling in the city, something they were actively pursing at one point.. It's pretty clear they are just too busy elsewhere in the state to really deal with the hassle. But the big equivocation was they were backing off "for now" and made clear the future was not off the table. So the question then becomes how actively they are continuing to pursue leasing to prepare for that future. That and they tried to make a claim that Pittsburgh (as in the city and environs) is on the borderline of a pressure gradient that makes gas development here potentially not worthwhile. Begs the question of why anyone is drilling in the city and there clearly are some permits issues. Certainly is leasing activity in different parts of Allegheny County.