American Chemistry Matters: Driving Innovation, Creating Jobs and Enhancing Safety

When it comes to chemical manufacturing jobs, Ohio is having seconds

Bill Hagstrand, a senior consultant for NorTech, an Ohio-based economic development organization, is a vocal proponent of the benefits shale gas could bring to the Buckeye State’s manufacturing sector — beginning with American Chemistry.

“Several industries up and down the shale supply chain are gearing up to take advantage” of abundant and affordable supplies of natural gas, Hagstrand wrote in a recent commentary in Crain’s Cleveland Business. He added:

One major beneficiary is the chemical industry, which is feeling the effects of the potential prevalence of natural gas and ‘wet gas’ natural gas liquids in the Ohio Utica-Point Pleasant shale play.

Ohio already has a strong chemical and polymer industry, Hagstrand says, citing figures from the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council that found chemical companies directly employ almost 46,000 people at an average salary of $64,600 a year, which is 24 percent higher than the average manufacturing job.

Several polymer companies on the Fortune list of the world’s largest 1,000 corporations are located in northeast Ohio, including the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Parker Hannifin, PolyOne Corporation and Schulman as well as other successful Buckeye State companies such as Owens Corning and Cooper Tire, Hagstrand wrote.

These companies and others are benefiting from the fundamental laws of shale economics. The reduced price of natural gas, which is abundant in shale, translates into lower cost ethane, which is used to make ethylene, a key ingredient in manufactured goods. And, Hagstrand added:

Significantly reduced manufacturing production costs are a major benefit to the region, which can lead to a boost in the economy and good paying jobs for Northeast Ohio.

This is just the beginning for Ohio. There are more than 6,000 job postings across both core and ancillary industries related to this manufacturing renaissance. The Ohio Shale Report statement on the second quarter of 2012 found “employment in core shale-related industries was up 15.5 percent from the second quarter of 2011.”

Some Ohio experts on manufacturing have surmised that shale gas production is still in its infancy and the chemical industry and manufacturing growth spurt will happen soon. Or as another headline in Crain’s Cleveland Business put it: “Shale Gas Is Already Creating Jobs, But the Real Wave of Employment is Yet to Come.”

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