Local Employment Impact from Competing Energy Sources: Shale Gas versus Wind Generation in Texas


The rapid development of both wind power and of shale gas has been receiving significant attention both in the media and among policy makers. Since these are competing sources of electricity generation, it is informative to investigate their relative merits regarding job creation. We use a panel econometric model to estimate the historical job-creating performance of wind versus that of shale oil and gas. The model is estimated using monthly county level data from Texas from 2001 to 2011. Both first-difference and GMM methods show that shale-related activity has brought strong employment to Texas: 77 short-term jobs or 6.4 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs per well. Given that 5482 new directional/fractured wells were drilled in Texas in 2011, this implies that about 35000 FTE jobs were created in that year alone. We did not, however, find a corresponding impact on wages. Our estimations did not identify a non-negligible impact from the wind industry on either employment or wages.