It seems like just the other day we were talking about how Gov. Corbett's policies were helping to drive large numbers of Pennsylvanians out of the labor force. But, one might ask, how could this happen when the governor is executing his scheme to make Pennsylvania the fracking capital of the world? Now, the Associated Press has provided the answer, and the photo (above) to prove it.
It's all in the sausage.
Although state officials get defensive when you suggest that a lot of fracking jobs are for experienced drilling rig operators from the Deep South, it's true, and the proof is in the bread pudding. And the boudin. And the jambalaya:
PENNSDALE, Pa. - The land of scrapple and chipped ham is starting to get a taste for jambalaya and boudin.
Thanks to an influx of Southerners filling jobs in north-central Pennsylvania's booming natural gas industry, a region not often placed on many culinary maps is finding itself flush with the foodways found below the Mason-Dixon line, arguably the source of some of the nation's richest culinary traditions.
The rush of Southerners was triggered by energy companies moving into the region during the last decade. New drilling technologies have helped them unlock the vast reserves of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, a geological formation deep underground that extends through much of Pennsylvania. From 2009 to 2012, the number of gas field workers in the state jumped from nearly 12,000 to almost 31,000, according to state data. Many come up from the South.
Look, putting aside the environmental arguments over fracking, there's no doubt that any economic activity helps -- these Southerners eat and stay in motels and buy gasoline, and that does create work for Pennsylvanians -- although not nearly as well-paying, as, you know, working on a gas rig. So if these boudin-eaters are getting all the fracking work, where are Pennsylvania's good jobs?
My colleague Sandy Shea is wondering the same thing.