March 15, 2012 · 0 Comments
By Dean Baker:
An NYT blognote touted a fossil-fuels job boom in the United States. A little skepticism might be in order here.
First the piece highlighted a report from the World Economic Forum that claimed that the oil and gas industry generated 150,000 new jobs last year, which it claimed was 9 percent of total employment growth. There is some question about the multipliers that the study uses to get to 150,000, but even with that number, the 9.0 percent figure is still off.
The Labor Department reports that the economy created 1,840,000 jobs last year. The 150,000 oil and gas related jobs would be 8.15 percent of total jobs growth, which would ordinarily be rounded to 8 percent.
The blogpost later refers to 9 million total jobs in the oil and gas industry. This seems more than a bit high, since adding jobs in gas stations, refining, drilling and pipelines only gets you a bit over 1 million. The source cited is a Pew study, but the only number I could find there was 1.27 million jobs (p 15).
Assuming that we eventually recover from this downturn, we will not need the energy industry to employ people. In fact, the fewer workers needed to provide us with our energy the better. (They can do other things.) However at the moment, we do desperately need more jobs. For this reason it is important to keep the numbers straight.