How do we inform community planning for the impacts related to the shale play in eastern Ohio? One approach is to track key indicator data.
Extension researchers recently shared the highlights of an advanced cluster analysis focused on manufacturing with community development officials in four EDD’s (economic development districts) within the eastern Ohio shale play. The cluster analysis is one of four analytical steps being conducted as part of an EDA (Economic Development Administration) funded project to inform the overall 25-county region about economic, social and environmental changes, potential implications and strategic directions for sustainable development.
Changes are being tracked quarterly or annually depending on what is being measured using a number of data sets including the Center for Human Resource Research’s enterprise and workforce database and IMPLAN, an economic modeling software program. Social and environmental indicators are also being tracked including school enrollment, housing starts, crime and water quality, using a wide variety of public and private data sources.
The cluster analysis revealed both expected and unexpected trends occurring in the four EDD’s. As anticipated, in the region experiencing the majority of the drilling activity, the vast majority of the 600 or so jobs created between 2010-2013 were in the core and ancillary industries related to shale development. During the same period, the Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District in the southern-most part of the 25-county region saw a concentration of hiring activity occurring primarily in construction tied to housing and commercial development, most likely due to shale development. Unexpectedly, relatively little or no jobs were created in core or ancillary shale industries in this district.
Building on the cluster analysis findings, researchers are now embarking on an industry capacity assessment to discover linkages and opportunities for sustainable growth in value added manufacturing in the four regions. A recently published article provides more information on the project: cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/project-helping-ohio-communities-avert-bust-after-shale-boom.
(Submitted by Nancy Bowen-Ellzey, Extension Field Specialist, Community Economics)