Almost 60 percent of consumers living in the shale exploration areas, stretching from West Virginia through Michigan, believe that the growing industry will provide economic opportunity in their areas. Of those, 14 percent believe it will provide “significant opportunity,” while 43 percent say it will provide “somewhat of an opportunity,” according to Huntington Bank’s first Midwest Economic Index, a survey of consumers recently conducted across Huntington’s markets.
Another 43 percent said they did not believe economic growth would be created by the new energy industry, in terms of shale workers increasing business in local areas, energy companies buying land or manufacturing growing to support the new industry.
The three areas with the most exploration – Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia – had corresponding results:
- In Western Pennsylvania, 79 percent of respondents said the new industry would bring opportunity to the area. Of those, 24 percent said it would be a significant opportunity, while 21 percent saw no local economic growth from the new industry.
- In Ohio, 58 percent of respondents agreed that the industry would bring opportunity, with 15 percent of those saying it would be a significant opportunity, while 42 percent said they did not see it bringing economic opportunity to their communities.
- In West Virginia, 75 percent of respondents believe it will provide opportunity. Of those, 24 percent saw significant opportunity, while 25 percent did not see economic impact.
“Huntington commissioned the survey by an independent research firm because we are committed to helping our customers understand the economy in our markets,” said Steve Steinour, chairman, president and CEO of Huntington Bank. “While many inside and outside of the energy industry are predicting growth, we wanted to find out how the residents of our markets perceive the potential economic impact of the industry on their communities.