By Wendy Holdren | November 24, 2014
While the southern portion of the state is largely barren when it comes to Marcellus shale activity, the northern part of the state is seeing a "modern-day gold rush," according to the West Virginia State Building and Construction Trades Council.
Director Steve White said drilling the shale isn't the only part of the process that's creating jobs — it's also pipelines and processing facilities.
Over the past three years, White said, he's seen a number of workers employed, with good pay and benefits, in West Virginia thanks to shale.
"It's great news for West Virginia. People are working a lot of hours and making a lot of overtime."
He said the timing couldn't have been better, with the construction economy in a real downturn and federal spending cuts on roads and school construction.
"This has really been a lifeline for folks who were out of jobs."
The exact statistics are a bit hard to nail down though, he said. For example, if a contractor is doing site-clearing for a drilling site, is that considered a gas industry job or construction work?
If he had to give an estimate though, White said he conservatively estimates 2,000 pipeline workers have been employed in the past three years and 2,000 in processing plants.
"As far as we can see, there is no end to it."