The development of domestic shale reserves could be a boon for manufacturing staffing in certain parts of the country, potentially saving billions of dollars and creating 1 million new jobs by 2025, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that while this idea that shale development could seriously boost manufacturing staffing is not new, study author Bob McCutcheon notes the report is part of a call to action for manufacturers to take steps towards becoming "active stakeholders in the shale gas industry."
In a larger sense, McCutcheon added that increased emphasis on shale development could ultimately help lead to a "renaissance in U.S. manufacturing," according to the Business Times.
Regions where such development is possible have already seen many of the benefits, which include cost savings through cheaper natural gas, which can have a trickle-down effect on the chemical industry, where raw materials can be derived from natural gas.
A number of companies in the Pittsburgh area are taking advantage of these savings, helping to better position the U.S. as a place to complete manufacturing. This is particularly important, the report explains, because it is approximately 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the U.S. than in other countries.
This is exceedingly important in a region like Pittsburgh, where the unemployment rate sits at 8.1 percent, just below the national average.
Kurt Rankin, an economist, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the service sector has seen a boost in recent months in addition to manufacturing staffing.
"That is something that is not going on broadly across the country, and it speaks to consumer confidence," Rankin explained. "It's not a surprise. It's just that Pittsburgh is enjoying this phenomenon before much of the rest of the country."
A separate Tribune-Review article noted a tax credit to expand the region's wind energy industry could also provide a spark for the area's manufacturing industry. In a study released by the American Wind Energy Association, the trade group found between 5,000 and 7,000 jobs could be maintained if a four-year extension of production tax credits are approved.
Nationally, the study suggested a passage of the tax credits could either create or save 54,000 American jobs over the next four years, a boon for both manufacturing and energy staffing.