T. Boone Pickens: 100 years of gas industry jobs

On Monday afternoon, in a room of nearly 400 people involved in job training and placement and in the industries that create jobs, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Labor and Industry Julia Hearthway said while the energy sector is the smallest sector in the state terms of jobs, it is the fastest growing.

Jobs extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale are included in the sector called Mining and Logging in the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ industrial categorization. That industry sector had 38,100 jobs in the state in July, the most recent statistics available. The next smallest sector, with more than double the workers, is the Information sector, which has 84,100 workers.

While the Mining and Logging sector has had consistently high growth over the last few years, in a year-over-year comparison in July, that sector — which added workers at a rate of 5.8 percent, or 2,100 workers — had slower growth than the construction industry, which added 6.8 percent to its workforce over 12 months. Construction hiring dwarfed the mining and logging sector, by adding 15,300 workers over the year.

But those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

A jobs conference Monday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center included a session with Gov. Tom Corbett and T. Boone Pickens, chairman of B.P. Capital Management, who talked about employment created by the energy sector.

Mr. Corbett said the jobs related to energy go far beyond the those directly involved in the energy sector and used the example of a man who built his own barbecue pit and now sells barbecue to well site workers from Texas.

“The Texans are bringing [the barbecue] back to Texas,” he said.

Many of the jobs related to gas production are not drilling or building pipelines, the governor noted. “The lawyers, the accountants and the engineers, a lot of those jobs are not in the oil fields,” he said.

“And the geologists. I appreciate the mention of the geologists,” Mr. Pickens, who started his career in the oil industry as a geologist, said.

He said the oil and gas industry will be in the state for another 100 years.

“We have a supply of gas for over 100 years in the Marcellus Shale,” he said.

Ann Belser: abelser@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1699

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