Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Jobs Über Alles

By far the best look at the jobs issues surrounding Marcellus Shale to date.  WSJ: Gas Drilling Bringing Jobs to Pennsylvania, but How Many?

Still deserves a lot more poking, and I suspect folks will be writing long ex post on the jobs projections many take for granted compared to what we eventually will measure.

and yes...  the regional labor force stats are out and the center of attention is the discrepancy between the big jump in jobs and yet the rise in the local unemployment rate.  Various creative ways to describing the confusion; PBT says "quirk of statistics".  While I admit I have some questions myself it comes down to one of three things that has to be going on in the data.  One is the 'quirk' which would mean there is a sample frame in the CPS for the region that is capturing a bit more folks unemployed than you might expect. It is possible, but it is enough of a discrepancy with the jobs count that I don't quite believe it can be more than part of the story. At some point the sample frame will rotate folks out so we will eventually know if that is having an impact.  Could be some jump up in labor force participation among local residents; though that would be odd to happen fast enough to be showing up as it is. Would be a story unto itself.  The third big possibility which I am leaning toward is just sheer migration into the region which would be a direct way to produce the seemingly anomalous increases in jobs, yet rising unemployment rates.   

and to just throw everyone for a loop... unemployment rates are up, even seasonally adjusted rates, out in the middle of where so many of the Marcellus-related jobs are located.  How can that be possible since some projections clearly have every man, woman and child with a pulse out in the 'T' being employed by Marcellus job demand?


Anonymous BrianTH said...

The patterns over the last couple months just don't seem to me like they could be "real", meaning there has to be some sort of methodological explanation for such rapid changes and reversals.

But that doesn't mean the endpoints are wrong--maybe what was wrong was in the middle. I'm particularly fascinated by the labor force issue. In 2008 we experience a huge surge in the labor force, the exact opposite of what was going on in most of the rest of the nation. In 2009 and 2010, the labor force trended back down, although was still a bit elevated from pre-recession. Is the labor force surge now starting to return?

All very interesting. I think you could perhaps tell a story about migration starting in 2008 when the Pittsburgh region started consistently experiencing a better employment trend than the national average, but labor force participation going down as the recession took hold here, but maybe now it is starting to recover a bit . . . anyway, it is something I am continuing to watch because SOMETHING interesting is happening.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 7:33:00 AM  
Anonymous MSL said...

When do the census population estimates for 2011 come out?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...


Should be December for state populations, next April for counties and MSAs, and next June for incorporated places (like the City of Pittsburgh).


Tuesday, August 02, 2011 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

There are several items that impacted local employment numbers. One is the rapid expansion of the Westinghouse nuclear division, adding several thousand people. And if they bring spouses along with them, that doubles.

Another....and this one may explain some the up and down waves of the last couple of years...was the huge construction boom that went on here just as the rest of the country took a time out. A new hospital, the Consol Center, a new city tower, a new motel, the Westinghouse complex, two casinos, the black hole under the Allegheny, a new turnpike bridge, and more. I know some workers were brought in to handle all of the work. Most of these are completed now so many people have moved on.

And of course the Marcellus play. One thing you have overlooked is all the cameramen, lighting, producers, directors, editors, makeup people, costuming, sound technicians, and more that make all those commercials for nat gas companies!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger David Passmore said...

Chris, et alia,

I thought Kris Maher did a pretty good job of boiling it all down. I know that he spoke to boatload of people about many aspects of the job count problem.

We have a reprint of our article on the "1099" employment count in so-called Marcellus Shale core industries at http://pbcbriefing.blogsome.com/2011/06/21/p47/. I posted the worksheet behind this article at http://irtd.ed.psu.edu:5000/pdfnew/PASSMORE_marcelluscovered.xlsx
This spreadsheet contains PA Labor & Industry counts from "ES-202" covered employment and from Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. estimates of total employment, including jobs not covered, by industry and year. The "ES-202" data do not come from CPS sampling.

I am doing a little reverse engineering of the Considine/Watson/Blumsack report to identify the differences in production function and labor intensity between IMPLAN input-output data and the Considine et alia data.

More on this later.

David Passmore

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 2:37:00 PM  
Blogger David Passmore said...

One other matter:

Tom Kinnaman, who I have not met, has a very good review of Marcellus Shale impact studies that you can find through links at:

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 3:50:00 PM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

From the PG; http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11209/1163446-155-0.stm Seems alot of native Pennsylvanians that left the area years ago are coming back to work in the gas industry. They have even been called "gumbanders"

But it seems that not all are welcomed back..."The only downside Mr. Gaudlip has seen is some of the native pushback against "Texpats" moving to Western Pennsylvania. He has lived all over the world, including Saudi Arabia just a couple of months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and has never been anything but welcomed."

So whats poor Border Guard Bob to do??

Wednesday, August 03, 2011 2:36:00 PM  

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