16 Aug (INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY) – Unemployment remains a sorry 7.4%, but it would be much worse if not for one industry. And that industry happens to be the one that drives the president, his party and their constituency to hysterics.President Obama doesn’t like the oil and gas industry. Democratic lawmakers are openly hostile to the producers of conventional fuels.
Democratic voters tend to think of oil companies in the same way a conquered people view their occupying force.
But without Big Oil, the flaccid recovery — the weakest since World War II — would be sicklier and the wretched jobs picture would be truly miserable.
On more than one occasion, Obama has promised to “pivot” his attention toward jobs, to give them his “laser-like focus.” Yet private-sector job growth has been negative; 0.9% fewer private sector jobs exist today than in January 2007.
As Mark Perry has pointed out in his Carpe Diem blog, the U.S. fell from 115.7 million jobs in January 2008 to 106.8 million jobs in February 2010, a 7% drop. Employers have added 7 million jobs since then, but that’s not enough to make up the loss.
Hence, we’re still 0.9% off the January 2007 high.
All that has kept those numbers from being uglier is the detested oil and gas industry. Since January 2007, employment there has grown 50%. Much of the progress is due to a sharp increase in the use of fracking to release oil and natural gas trapped in shale.
“Over the last two years, U.S. oil and gas companies have hired an average of 155 new employees every business day for extraction operations (oil and gas exploration and all production work up to the point of shipment) and support activities (excavation, well surveying, casing work and well construction), which is about one new job every three minutes,” Perry recently wrote in his blog.
And they tend to be good jobs. Bright Labs, a San Francisco-based venture that sifts through employment data, said each job created last year by the shale boom started with an annual salary of $150,000.
While Big Oil has added jobs at no cost — and great benefit — to taxpayers and consumers, Obama’s green energy effort has lurched, stumbled and crashed. It’s been a vehicle for government corruption and waste.
According to a Bloomberg News analysis, the Energy Department managed to create fewer than 29,000 green jobs by last fall — at a cost of $21 billion, or $728,000 per job.
Yes, a political agenda can be a destructive and costly thing.