The United States fracking boom of the last few years has been credited with creating new jobs, lowering gas prices at the pump and reducing America's dependence on foreign oil. Now, two studies from American universities have found hydraulic fracturing has created positive economic changes for rural communities and states where production occurs.
"A third of the revenue generated by fracking stayed within regional economies."
A study from Dartmouth College economists found nationally every million dollars of oil and gas extracted by fracking produced $66,000 in wage income and 0.78 jobs. In total, during the eight years the study examined, fracking produced 725,000 new jobs in the country and saw employment in the mining industry climb by 60 percent.
However, a far greater economic benefit was felt at a local level. The study looked at data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the IRS for 3,082 counties where hydraulic fracturing production takes place and determined a third of the revenue generated by fracking stayed within regional economies. Furthermore, the study noted "substantial increases" in regional employment attributed to fracking. Within 100 miles of production, $1 million generated an average of $243,000 in wages and 2.49 new jobs.
At a state level, the impact on jobs and income was up to five times as large as at the county level. On average, each $1 million generated created 3.34 new jobs.
The Dartmouth study concluded that counties where extraction occurs saw "significant economic benefits," and also showed no notable change in crime.
"Local schools received the greatest share of state revenue generated by fracking."
A separate study from Duke University looked at revenue generated for local governments in eight states through oil and gas production and how that revenue was used for public works.
The Duke study examined state taxes or fees on oil and gas production; local property taxes on land owned by oil and gas companies; and the leasing of state- and federally owned land for oil and gas production in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
The study noted that local schools received the greatest share of state revenue generated by fracking. Schools in Wyoming, Texas, Colorado, and Montana received the greatest share of this revenue at 4-7 percent. The study also found Louisiana schools are largely funded by the state's general fund, which received a large share of its revenue from the oil and gas sector.
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