Sales up over 21% in strong shale counties

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CLEVELAND — Economic activity has increased in Ohio counties as a result of shale exploration and the early-stage production of oil and gas from shale reservoirs, according to a new study by Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs.

The study analyzed local sales receipts and total employment in areas categorized as strong shale counties – namely, the eastern Ohio counties of Ashtabula, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Cochocton, Geauga, Guernsey, Harrison, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Trumbull and Tuscarawas.

Among the key findings:

• Total sales activity in strong shale counties increased 21.1 percent, from $12.3 billion in 2011 to $14.9 billion in 2012.

• The rebound in sales activity in strong shale counties began in 2011 and continued strongly through 2012.

• The growth in sales activity among strong shale counties is occurring in a part of Ohio that has experienced little investment over the past several decades.

• Employment growth in strong shale counties is not yet evident.

In 2011, strong shale counties began to experience a positive growth trend in terms of estimated sales receipts. This trend continued and strengthened through 2012. Strong shale counties not only reversed negative average sales trends from the previous three years, but also outperformed moderate shale counties, weak shale counties and non-shale counties.

While there is a clear positive trend in sales receipts, the employment data show a modest increase of 1.4 percent in the average employment yearly growth rate for strong shale counties between 2011 and 2012. Over the same period, moderate shale counties and non-shale counties experienced similar increases of 1.4 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Trends at the county level also hold true at the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) level. Strong shale MSAs experienced an average sales receipt increase of 17.3 percent between 2011 and 2012, outpacing moderate/weak MSAs (11.0 percent) and non-shale MSAs (6.4 percent).

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