In case you haven’t been following the development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry in Pennsylvania, here’s the latest.
The “gas boom” has hit Pennsylvania and energy companies are moving workers into rural areas of Pennsylvania that are not equipped to handle the large influx of workers.
Today’s example is Sayre, PA. Sayre has a population of 5,813 according to us 2000 census and is 2 square miles. It is the largest town in Bradford County. The greater Sayre, PA Athens, PA & Waverly, NY area totals not quite 30,000 people. It is Bradford County’s “city”. This is an economically depressed area that once boasted an impressive manufacturing base. Sayre was a big railroad town. A bright spot is the Robert Packer Hospital and Guthrie Clinic which is a major employer in the area.
Along comes the “gas boom” and suddenly there are hundreds of people looking for apartments. Now rents have skyrocketed based on “demand” forcing many local people out. Finding an apartment is equivalent to finding hen’s teeth.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. is one of the companies drilling for natural gas. They went from one well and a few dozen employees to 21 wells and 1,100 employees. They are not the only company drilling! While these companies try to hire locals, more than half of their employees live “out-of-state”. They work 14 days on, 14 days off. Most out-of-state workers fly home when they are off.
Chesapeake Energy came up with a great solution. They built a $7 million dollar residential facility and training center in Sayre to reduce the strain on the local housing market. The dorms will house 280 workers. A cafeteria, recreation center and laundry facility are part of the fenced in complex. Workers moved in last week.