Saturday, June 18, 2016

MiningPA update

Just a chance to update my graphic of mining and logging employment across Pennsylvania. Again this is a bit contrived and shows data for mining and logging employment in Pennsylvania net of that in the Pittsburgh MSA. It is an attempt to capture what is happening across the vast Pennsylvania T*.

To capture the impact of shale development across Pennsylvania I highlight the change in employment from a baseline I define as 2005 through the lastest data for May 2016.  Not really any slowdown in the collapse in this metric.  The trend has not retreated all the way back to the 2005 levels, but it sure is not far from it.  The thing I have pointed out is that there appears no soft landing here and it sure looks like it is going to very soon overshoot the employment level before there was any palpable shale development across the state.  At the rate this is going, this metric will fall below the 2005 baseline in July... which given the lag in when data is reported is now just around the corner. Will there be as much notice as there was of the employment gains earlier on?

The reason I argue the employment effect will be negative is natural gas' impact on coal mining. The vast expansion of natural gas has collapsed the price to the point that it has displaced a lot of the nation's demand for coal. Taken holistically, the employment impact of shale development in Pennsylvania is about to turn negative.. a conclusion any conceivable extrapolation of this time series leads you to:

* Note it is not Pennsylvania net of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia just because there is limited data easily available on mining and logging employment for the Philadelphia MSA, most likely because the scale of that employment in the Philadelphia is insufficient to report due to confidentiality suppression. But on the assumption mining employment in Philadelphia is low, or has low variance, the graphic fairly represents that is happening across Pennsylvania.


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