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Ohio fracking boom has not brought jobs
Did you hear the joke about how fracking creates jobs?
Well here comes a punchline that’s darker than a fracker’s heart: In northeastern Ohio, where a fracking boom kicked off 2011, there was no more jobs growth last year than there was in the state’s unfracked western and southern regions.
That’s the conclusion of a new report [PDF] published by Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. The report was not peer-reviewed.
The study found that overall spending in counties with the richest shale reserves increased by 21.1 percent in 2012, compared with a 6.4 percent increase in counties where no fracking is underway. The more shale buried beneath a county, the more money is likely to be spent there in the era of fracking, according to the study’s findings.
But that economic bounce did not translate to jobs growth. In shale-rich counties, employment grew by 1.4 percent between 2011 and 2012. In fracker-free counties, employment grew by 1.3 percent.
Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says that employment in well drilling, pipeline construction, and similar work was up last year. So what’s going on? It’s impossible to tell from the report, but it has been speculated that fracking could be killing jobs in other sectors, such as tourism and farming. From a Midwest Energy News report published in January:
Meanwhile, leaders in the state have started lamenting the lack of fracking jobs going to Ohioans. Gov. John Kasich (R) brought the issue up a few months ago, The Columbus Dispatch reported:
The lack of jobs growth for Ohioans living on fracked (and now polluted) land appears to be yet another sad case of communities getting sucker punched after selling out to fossil fuel companies. There’s your punchline.
John Upton is a science aficionado and green news junkie who
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