Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information & Analysis
[State Impact] Somehow Pennsylvania lost 160,000 gas industry jobs overnight.
What happened? Did drillers flee at the specter of a new tax on production? Not quite. Although companies have been laying off workers and cutting costs– lackluster market conditions don’t explain this shift.
Instead, it was a decision made under Governor Wolf’s new administration. Last week the state Department of Labor and Industry quietly changed the way it tracks employment in the Marcellus Shale industry.
“Those numbers were a joke,” says John Hanger, Wolf’s secretary of planning and policy. ”The errors were so glaring, they had to be changed.”
Wolf’s predecessor Tom Corbett, a Republican, often credited drillers with supporting more than 200,000 Pennsylvania jobs.
“We were very uncomfortable with some of the misrepresentations under the past administration,” says labor department spokeswoman Sara Goulet. “The numbers we put out had caveats. [The Corbett administration] was misrepresenting them.”