Research: Ohio Easily Absorbs New Oil And Gas Workers

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Shaded areas show the extent of Ohio's deep shale fields where geologists say natural gas and oil is trapped.(Photo: file photo)
Shaded areas show the extent of Ohio's deep shale fields where geologists say natural gas and oil is trapped.(Photo: file photo)

New research shows Ohio’s shale oil and gas development so far has had little effect on demand for housing. Ohio State researcher Amanda Weinstein says despite earlier fears of an influx of oil workers in some eastern Ohio counties there’s still no housing shortage.

“We are really surprised to see the results are very moderate and pleasantly surprised to see that the markets are responding appropriately. The best results we got were a jump in housing permits, which means that people are seeing that there is an increased demand for housing and they are appropriately responding by building more housing,” says Weinstein

Weinstein says in shale development areas in other states, an increase in housing permits during boom years quickly declined the following year. Weinstein says the oil and gas industry appears to be moving “much more cautiously” in adding drilling sites and hiring new workers in Ohio. At the end of 2012, oil, gas and other shale energy employers had posted help wanted ads for more than 6,000 positions, mostly in eastern Ohio counties.

Weinstein adds that Ohio is better positioned to absorb any newly hired oil and gas workers. Unlike other shale regions in Pennsylvania and North Dakota, Ohio has more cities and towns within commuting distance of the oilfields.

“So we’re kind of lucky when it comes to housing that a lot of the oil and gas workers can commute to an area where there is better housing opportunities,” says Weinstein.

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