Saturday, January 25, 2014

Big Oil, Small Jobs:  A Look at the Oil Industry’s Dubious Job Claims

BP workers, in the background, remove insulation from an oil transit pipeline at the Prudhoe Bay oil field on Alaska's North Slope, August 18, 2006, as other workers use ultrasound to test for weakness in the pipe due to corrosion. (Credit:  AP/Al Grillo) Click to enlarge.
The oil and gas industry is one of the most lucrative industries in the United States.  Its five largest companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—have earned more than $1 trillion in profits over the past decade. Yet this industry still fights tooth and nail to cling to its special tax provisions, worth at least $40 billion per decade. One of Big Oil’s most repeated rationales for keeping its exceedingly generous tax breaks, despite oil companies’ enormous profits, is its contribution to the U.S. employment numbers. 

However, a close look at Big Oil’s claims finds that this employment effect is greatly exaggerated.  In fact, our analysis of government employment data identified far fewer direct jobs than the numbers hyped by the oil and gas industry.  Furthermore, gas station employees—low-paid workers who sell convenience store goods and petroleum products—make up nearly half of the direct jobs.

Big Oil, Small Jobs:  A Look at the Oil Industry’s Dubious Job Claims

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