Hydrofracking could increase income by 15 percent

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Contact: Matthew Olsen

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The potential economic gains from natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale region in upstate New York are highlighted in a new study documenting the impact of hydrofracking on jobs and income growth in Pennsylvania, where nearly 5,000 wells have been hydrofractured since 2002.

The study, “The Economic Effects of Hydrofracturing on Local Economies,” was jointly issued by the Manhattan Institute and its Empire Center for Public Policy. Its key findings include the following:

Pennsylvania counties with hydrofractured gas wells have performed better across economic indicators than those that have no wells.

The more wells a county contains, the better it performed.

Between 2007 and 2011, per-capita income rose by 19 percent in Pennsylvania counties with more than 200 wells, and by 12 percent in counties with fewer than 20 wells.

In counties without any hydrofractured wells, income went up by only 8 percent.

Counties with the lowest per-capita incomes experienced the most rapid growth.

Counties with more than 200 wells added jobs at a 7 percent annual rate over the same time period.

Where there was no drilling, or only a few wells, the number of county jobs shrank by 3 percent.

“Our data also suggest that had New York allowed its counties to fully exploit the Marcellus Shale, those counties would have seen income-growth rates of up to 15 percent for a given four-year period, or as much as 6 percent more than they are experiencing,” the study says.

The study’s lead author is Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, a former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor who also served as chief of staff of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers.