By Representative Robert Latta
With vast, untold resources thousands of feet below the surface, Ohio is experiencing an industrial renaissance that's reigniting the state's manufacturing base and growing the economy. Across the state, we are seeing ribbon-cutting ceremonies for new manufacturing facilities, expansion projects, and hiring announcements due to shale activity. The Utica Shale's potential is having a direct and immediate impact in job creation, which in turn has revitalized industries and communities across the state.
An eye opening report by ABC News denotes Steubenville, a city long suffering with unemployment rates far beyond the national average, has experienced a resurgence in employment. This past year, the oil and gas industry has created more than 300 new jobs, with more than 10,000 expected in the next three years. According to the ABC News report, if jobs continue to grow at this pace, every adult in Steubenville could be working by April 2015.
Just up the road from Steubenville, MAC Trailer has added nearly 300 employees this past year. The company manufactures in Alliance and Salem, and having recently cut the ribbon on a new manufacturing facility in Kent, they're expanding operations in order to meet the demands created by the increasing development of the Utica Shale.
In hard-hit Youngstown, we are seeing the same kind of economic growth. V&M Star is creating 350 jobs, which represents the largest private investment in 50 years.
And just this week, the New York Times reported on how shale activity is boosting jobs in Ohio. Timken Company, a steel company in Canton, is expanding their operations to meet the demands created by shale activity. Timken's growth will lead to the creation of 630 manufacturing jobs.
Ohioans can expect this trend to continue. According to a 2011 impact study by Klienhenz and Associates, Ohioans will see more than 200,000 new jobs by 2015. Future job projections by PricewaterhouseCoopers show shale activity will grow the manufacturing industry nationwide by approximately one million workers between 2025 and 2035. Furthermore, shale gas may reduce manufacturing costs by $11.6 billion by 2025.
The state's ability to develop the manufacturing industry has contributed to the decrease in Ohio's unemployment rate to 7.5 percent today down from a 10.6 percent peak in December 2009. Plain and simple, the Utica shale has renewed America's manufacturing competiveness and is putting people back to work.
Ohio's best days are ahead of us, and the state's success will be determined by the environmental, regulatory, and tax structure put in place by all levels of government. Government cannot create jobs, but government can help create an environment that attracts job creators and allows them to hire workers, and rejuvenate the manufacturing sector.
Our forefathers said states are meant to be laboratories for experimentation for better governance. In this case, Ohio has proven it can spur an economic recovery in a responsible and safe manner.