Pittsburgh Jobs Up, Housing Prices Up, Bankruptcies Down – Why? Hydraulic Fracturing

Although the entire U.S. remains mired in slow growth, perhaps even a double-dip recession, there are places in the country that are seeing rapid job and economic growth. One of those places is the Bakken Oil fields of North Dakota. Another place is Pittsburgh. Why have those two areas seen such growth and economic prosperity? Hydraulic fracturing. In the case of North Dakota, it’s hydraulic fracturing of oil wells. In the Pittsburgh area, it’s hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus Shale gas wells.

Below is an recent email sent by PittsburghTODAY speaking about Pittsburgh’s economic comeback:

Dear Friend, 

Building on the good jobs news we reported earlier this month, February preliminary job numbers show that Pittsburgh had the highest job growth rate for a second straight month.  The year-over-year increase was 2.18 percent or 23,700 jobs, the highest of any region.  In addition, the two-year job growth rate was positive for the first time since perhaps the recession began.

Of particular note, private jobs were up 2.46 percent, goods-producing jobs were up 3.18 percent and service jobs were up 2.04 percent.  Natural resources, mining and construction was up an astounding 7.17 percent, and leisure and hospitality jobs were up 4.62 percent.  In fact, every sector had year-over-year gains except for Information.

Furthermore, data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency for the 4th quarter of 2010 show that Pittsburgh again had the highest 1-year and 5-year appreciation rates at 1.6 and 9.0 percent respectively.

Lastly, bankruptcy filings in the federal court district that includes Pittsburgh were down 3.18 percent year-over-year in the 4th quarter of 2010.  That was the steepest decline of any region and most regions actually saw increases.


Doug Heuck
Program Director

Jobs way up, housing prices going up, bankruptcies going down—thank you hydraulic fracturing and Marcellus Shale drilling.

*PittsburghTODAY email – More Signs of Recovery

  • As a native Pittsburgher I wish I could accept this job growth with a clear conscience. But there are two problems:

    #1 Problem: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 amends the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act, redefining the term “hydraulic fracturing” within the context of natural gas extraction, to no longer mean “hydraulic fracturing” as it is defined in the energy industry. This means that natural gas drillers can avoid complying with those acts by using the hydraulic fracturing techniques that were given the loophole in 2005.

    #2 Problem: Pittsburgh has been pretty well insulated against the recession for multiple economic reasons, not the least of which is our unique, cheap housing market. Most of the US was hit much harder than Pittsburgh because even though the ripples throughout our economy affected us here in Pittsburgh, we did not feel the brunt of the real estate market insolvency that triggered the recession.

    I realize this is marcellusdrilling.com, but it doesn’t hurt to remember these important details!

  • Thanks for commenting. I am not a native Pittsburgher, so I can’t really respond on your point #2 (although I think you’re underestimating the true economic impacts–see today’s article about the most recent Penn State study that says last year $11.2 billion in econ activity in PA from the Marcellus Shale industry, a lot of that no doubt in the Pittsburgh area).

    On point #1, it is a common misconception that hydraulic fracturing was somehow “removed” from the Clean Water Act. In fact, it never was included in it in the first place. When the EPA tried to overreach and add fracking to the act as a back-door way of controlling the oil and gas industry in the country, the industry rightly lobbied to keep hydraulic fracturing from being amended into the Act. To say it’s a loophole or was taken out is a misunderstanding. We can argue about whether or not it should be included, but please, it was not taken out of it or exempted out of it because it was never there in the first place.

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