Morning Must Reads: Gas Booms in North Dakota and Pennsylvania and Art Is Good

Responding to the bizarre claims that if everybody moved to North Dakota we wouldn't have high unemployment, Paul Krugman on Wednesday compared North Dakota's energy boom to Pennsylvania's.

You see, PA has also had a significant resource boom, thanks to fracking. Here’s employment in mining and logging:

Second, a better employment comparison: indices of employment since the Great Recession began:

North Dakota has had a major employment boom, because 15,000 resource jobs are a big deal in a state with fewer than 700,000 people. Pennsylvania has not; it has done a bit better than the nation as a whole, but that probably has as much to do with the absence of a big housing bubble as with fracking.

As we have argued, the boom in Marcellus Shale fracking has created a lot of jobs, especially in communities where there is a lot of drilling activity, but natural resource extraction now and for the foreseeable future remains a relatively small fraction of employment. 

The following graph from Wells Fargo illustrates the relative contribution to employment growth each major sector of the economy in Pennsylvania has made since the trough in employment. On the vertical axis is the percent of job growth since February 2010 represented by each major sector, and on the horizontal axis is the share of all jobs represented by each sector. Any point above the 45-degree line indicates a sector added more employment in the recovery than it represented of total employment. As you can see, Natural Resources and Mining did make up a larger share of employment growth, even though it represented a tiny fraction of all employment. But its relative contribution was dwarfed by most other major sectors in the economy. Pennsylvania and the U.S. will not return to full employment from drilling alone.

Meanwhile, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reports this morning on a new study from the Education Policy and Leadership Center that demonstrates the arts are good — good for society and good for you!

Arts education in Pennsylvania is heading in the wrong direction, following a decade of public policies that have eroded opportunities to experience the arts for thousands of students statewide, according to a new report...

It calls for expanding the role for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, which provides grants and other assistance to arts groups statewide. The report recommends hiring a full-time arts education assessor at the state Department of Education. And it calls for reestablishing the Governor’s School for the Arts, which provided residential summer programs for hundreds of artistically talented students before closing due to budget pressures in 2009...

Among the research cited is “Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art,” a 12-year nationwide study by UCLA education professor James A. Catterall. His study found that students who are intensively exposed to arts education in middle and high school have higher levels of achievement in other coursework and at the college level. They also are more likely to be socially aware and participate in politics and volunteerism.

Hey, we like data, graphs, charts and econometrics, but we also love good art at the Keystone Research Center. It's on our walls, and thanks to our own Stephanie Frank, it's starting to show up on the cover of our reports!


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