The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 26, 2011

Drillers good for economy

In a recent article, the Keystone Research Center, a group that claimed "the stimulus worked" while the nation lost jobs by the millions, berates the natural gas industry for creating only 10,000 new jobs in the last 15 months, as though this was some small accomplishment. Gas drilling and related jobs in Marcellus Shale are one of the few growing areas of the Pennsylvania economy.

Jobs in Marcellus Shale extraction and related areas are up 26.3 percent from last year, while overall state employment increased only 1.4 percent.

Over the past three years, employment in gas extraction increased by nearly 94 percent, while total jobs in Pennsylvania declined. Pennsylvanians aren't just getting jobs, they are getting high-paying jobs.

For the last four quarters, the average wage for those in the natural gas industry was $69,995, more than 35 percent higher than the state average.

And this is a nationwide trend as nine of the top 11 fastest-growing jobs are tied to oil and gas extraction.

Keystone Research Center doesn't like to note these facts, as these are jobs created without government intervention, taxpayer subsidies or the all-too-important "green" stamp on them.

As a union- and government-funded organization, Keystone Research Center always advocates for taking money from successful businesses to redistribute to their special-interest friends.

We need to celebrate, not demonize, an industry that is creating jobs and prosperity through many parts of Pennsylvania without taxpayer subsidy.

Nathan A. Benefield,


— Nathan A. Benefield is director of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation.

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