fracking Pennsylvania update
In short, the collapse in this time series came to an abrupt end in August. Absolutely no change from July. We kind of skipped the inflection point altogether. I do admit I was expecting the trend to continue downward, though it could never have continued at the same pace. But you rarely see a time series just come to a halt so abruptly. What happens next? A big turnaround? Dead cat bounce? Or this was just a blip in a longer term trend?
As I said last month, the time series showed that pretty much all employment gains in mining employment from before the expansion of alternative gas development were gone, or at least down 98% from the employment average for 2005. It is true that the Pittsburgh MSA has retained some of its gains in mining employment since before the big frack began, but that series has been on its own massive collapse as well.
So as the big Shale Insights conference kicks off here in Pittsburgh, the news is good or bad depending on how you want to take it. The collapse has ended, quite definitively at least for this month, but still all past employment gains remain eviscerated. I do think there has been some gains in natural gas employment across the state, but just barely enough to offset the resulting collapse in coal employment in Pennsylvania, now at levels not seen since before the civil war.
Funny that there are no longer any economic impact reports on fracking being produced, despite the reports were originally promised to come annually. Before the reports were all a bit conjectural about the future, but now we have data to work with. I know local interest has switched focused to the new $7 billion dollar ethylene refinery (i.e. cracker) being planned for Beaver County. Some in the region are aware of what Chinese steel production did to steel prices and the steel industry here. Well, take a look at $24 billion ethylene refinery being built in China. But we won't talk about that.