Just to put things in perspective for those hearing the concern trolling from the coal, oil, and natural gas industries that implementing new federal emissions regulations and a state severance tax on shale gas production will have serious consequences for jobs and economic growth, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says Mining and Logging (which includes all natural gas employment, all coal employment, and employment in all the other extractive industries) accounts for about 0.6% of employment in PA.
There are about 37,500 people employed in the extractive sector, out of 6,680,500 people employed in Pennsylvania – about 0.6%.
That’s not nothing, but we’re talking about a very tiny segment of the labor force. If you look at the industries that most Pennsylvanians are sorted into, you’ll see the state economy is overwhelmingly a service economy, and extractive industry isn’t really that significant of an employer in comparison.
This is also significant for the alcohol reform debate, where the 3000 or so full-time state store clerks make up about 0.05% of state employment. Neither the EPA emissions or the severance tax or privatizing the state liquor stores are going to have an important macro impact on the state employment picture.
And that’s just talking about the cost side. If you consider the employment upside for renewable energy firms, grocery stores, and new liquor stores we’re probably talking about breaking even or even gaining jobs on net.