EID-Ohio's Shawn Bennett discusses the recent gains Jefferson County has seen because of Utica Shale development:
Just last fall, ABC News featured the city of Steubenville in a story about the emerging shale development, and how it is revitalizing Jefferson County’s ailing economy. The positive impacts the county is experiencing is not unlike what’s happening across the country and (today) across the state here in Ohio thanks to the development of the country’s vast shale resources.
When the ABC story was released, the Utica Shale was just beginning to take off in Ohio. At the time, not a single well had been developed in the region, and we were only beginning to recognize the economic benefits and job creation we would experience as the calendar turned over a new year.
Fast forward to today. Jefferson County has seen the Governor’s State of the State address with a focus on shale, a visit from Senator Sherrod Brown on Utica Shale jobs and a program at Eastern Gateway Community College helping local residents to get jobs in the oil and gas field.
This is great news for a county in Eastern Ohio. And at this early stage, an as-good-if-not-better story is the amount of investment coming into the county since the beginning of 2012. Over 11 companies associated with shale development have now made Jefferson County their home including a major shale developer. These 11 companies are providing or are projected to provide over 500 jobs in the county. With the 5th highest unemployment rate in the state, these are much needed investments.