The Great Recession hit small towns hard. Many saw factories close and jobs dry up. But according to a new analysis, small-town America is actually experiencing an economic revival thanks to an oil and gas boom. According to government data analyzed by USA Today, inflation-adjusted income has increased 3.8% per person between 2007 and 2011 for the roughly 50 million Americans who live in small cities, towns, and rural areas. Compare that to almost the same percentage drop (3.5%) in metropolitan areas, and a shift in wealth begins to emerge, one flowing from cities to rural regions.
Stories dot the media describing shale development as booms that have transformed the economies of North Dakota and Pennsylvania. That broad portrait gets badly wrong the impacts of shale development on the economies of the two states. Simply put, Pennsylvania is not North Dakota. North Dakota has a population of 699,628, while Pennsylvania's is 12,763,536 or about 18 times larger. quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/38000.html and quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/42000.html.
1. REUTERS -- "Oil output from shale prospects in unconventional sources from North Dakota to Texas could reach 1.5 million to 2 million barrels-per-day (bpd) in the coming five to seven years, twice as much as the 700,000 bpd currently produced in these places."
Guest blog post by Matt Erskine, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic DevelopmentOver the last three and a half years, President Obama has been committed to investing in efforts that strengthen rural economies, create jobs, support business growth, and expand opportunity for rural Americans.Today, the administration announced the 13 winners of a key component of this goal, the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. Economic development partnerships and initiatives in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia will receive awards ranging from nearly $200,000 to more than $1 million. The projects will promote job creation, accelerate innovation, and provide assistance to entrepreneurs and businesses in a wide range of industrial sectors, including advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, energy and natural resources, technology, and tourism. They range from the Bristol Bay Jobs Accelerator in Alaska, a job training initiative put together by a consortium of 31 Alaskan tribes that will support a fisheries and seafood processing industry cluster; to the I-20 Corridor Regional Accelerator, a project involving the collaboration of institutions in Louisiana and Arkansas to promote science and technology clusters in these states; to the “Project 17: Together We Stand,” a 17-county business development effort led by Kansas State University.
A 90-car train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in a rural area of western Alabama early on Friday, leaving 11 cars burning and potentially bolstering the push for tougher regulation of a boom in moving oil by rail.
For all the debate over building the Keystone XL pipeline, the oil is moving without it.
Railroads such as Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC are the rolling alternative, keeping oil flowing from the Bakken in North Dakota to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast, as the White House deliberates on the fate of TransCanada Corp.’s petroleum artery.
They’re boosting employment in the process: Rail transportation payrolls have climbed by 9.1%, a pace more than twice as fast as total job growth, since the end of 2009.
The second explosive oil-train derailment this year, which has finally burned out in rural Alabama, may raise new questions about the safety of the crude-by-rail boom, pointing to problems beyond those that surfaced following the earlier tragedy in Quebec.