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CPBJ Extra Blog

Ohio stakeholders question shale drilling jobs impact

By - Last modified: June 18, 2013 at 9:32 AM
Brent Burkey
Brent Burkey

Stakeholders in Ohio, where they are making stuff related to the natural-gas industry, say they're still looking for the big employment bounce.

The reason is similar to the story affecting the entire manufacturing industry: The business just doesn't need as many people to work in the factories as it used to. One executive with an economic development agency in the state is quoted in this article saying that big projects are more "capital intensive than labor intensive."

It goes on to highlight some of the big investments occurring in the area — and how they don't seem to be materializing into a substantial jobs boon like you'd think. One is even said to be an investment that led to fewer jobs. In other words, really big money is getting thrown around, but the proportionality of the jobs created is quite wanting.

This isn't to say that shale drilling is necessarily bad for the business climate going forward — far from it.

But if the money isn't circulating into the wider economy through lots of people getting good jobs and spending their earnings on houses and cars and vacations, then those implications need to be considered.

After what businesses went through in the past several years, so many are banking on the direct and indirect benefits of this natural resource. If there's a clog in the flow — and it increasingly looks like there is — I think it needs to be fixed sooner rather than later.

Brent Burkey covers retail, tourism, and Lebanon and York counties. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at brentb@centralpennbusiness.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, @brentburkey.

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