Paul Krugman: So Much for Oil and Gas “Job Creation” Myth

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    Cross posted from Scaling Green

    In the March 15 New York Times, Paul Krugman effectively calls out the oil and natural gas industries on their self-perpetuated myth of dirty energy job creation. Here’s an excerpt:

    what about jobs? I have to admit that I started laughing when I saw The Wall Street Journal offering North Dakota as a role model. Yes, the oil boom there has pushed unemployment down to 3.2 percent, but that’s only possible because the whole state has fewer residents than metropolitan Albany – so few residents that adding a few thousand jobs in the state’s extractive sector is a really big deal. The comparable-sized fracking boom in Pennsylvania has had hardly any effect on the state’s overall employment picture, because, in the end, not that many jobs are involved.

    And this tells us that giving the oil companies carte blanche isn’t a serious jobs program. Put it this way: Employment in oil and gas extraction has risen more than 50 percent since the middle of the last decade, but that amounts to only 70,000 jobs, around one-twentieth of 1 percent of total U.S. employment. So the idea that drill, baby, drill can cure our jobs deficit is basically a joke.

    Of course, despite the fact that the oil and gas “job creation” myth is “basically a joke,” if you turn on your TV there’s a good chance you’ll see industry propaganda like these ads by the American Petroleum Institute (API) or this nonsense (see above; also by API) about a supposed “1 million new American jobs” that could be created through development of North America’s oil and gas resources. Just remember, this industry has almost unlimited amounts of money to spend on these ads, but that doesn’t make them true.

    In fact, as this Washington Post article explains, “The API is the best there is at lying with statistics,” such as the fact that “the four biggest oil companies combined – Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell and BP – reduced their U.S. workforce by 11,200 employees between 2005 and 2010.” Details, details.

    P.S. Guess what the fastest-growing U.S. industry is. Hint: it’s a clean, green, jobs machine. 🙂