That burst of employment generated by fracking in the past decade may not have been all good news for the U.S.
Jobs offering low-skilled American teenagers a chance to earn big bucks in the shale oil and gas industry also made it less attractive to finish high school, causing a jump in dropout rates, a new study showed. It was published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The sobering takeaway: fracking raises the risk that some workers at the bottom of the skills and education ladder may end up being stuck there, because they made bad schooling choices in a rush to be part of the industry, according to Elizabeth Cascio and Ayushi Narayan, the study's authors.
For every 0.1 percentage point rise in the oil and gas industry's local male employment rate due to fracking, the dropout rate of male teens climbed by around 0.3 to 0.35 percentage point, the study covering 2000 to 2013 showed. So that means this group took a step back compared to female teens.
"By increasing the relative demand for low-skilled labor, fracking thus has the potential to slow growth in educational attainment," Cascio and Narayan wrote. "Such a phenomenon would work against broader economic trends both at the local level - where incomes may be rising due to fracking, especially among families whose children are more at risk of dropping out - and nationally - where technological change in other industries continues to favor the highly educated."Click here to continue reading the article.
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