Morning Headlamp — New ISER report highlights massive job loss

Hard hitting. According to the Alaska Dispatch News and a recent UAA ISER report, 60 percent of the boroughs and census areas in Alaska have lost jobs as oil prices have plummeted over the past two years. The state lost nearly 1 percent of its jobs in that time frame, a decline of 2,261, the report found. In the private sector, the oil and gas industry was hit the hardest, losing more than 1,600 jobs. Some sectors grew during those two years. Local government, for example, added 800 jobs. Headlamp points out that the loss of 1600 jobs at an average of $135,000/year has a staggering trickle-down effect on Alaska’s economy that is not softened by an increase in retail jobs or healthcare jobs. 

Two recent commentaries highlighted the need for offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic. Professor of economics at the Flint campus of The University of Michigan and American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry argues that the national security benefits parallel the economic needs for Arctic OCS development. According to Perry, “Russia has established six new military bases north of the Arctic Circle, while China, calling itself a “near-Arctic” state, is building new icebreakers and holding naval operations in the Bearing Sea. The oil and gas industry in Alaska requires substantial infrastructure needs, including state-of-the-art icebreakers, efficient ports, access roads and more, all of which will complement our military infrastructure. Without energy industry prospects in the region, investment into maintaining that infrastructure will be a strain on the government.”

Admiral Tom Barrett, U.S. Coast Guard (ret.) fired back at a recent op-ed that argued against oil and gas development, calling the previous piece flat wrong.” According to Barrett, “Oil exploration, production and throughput equal more jobs for Alaskans and a stronger economy for Alaska and the United States. What’s more, the Consumer Energy Alliance found that 73 percent of Alaskans support developing the Arctic offshore for oil and gas. Inupiat people who live on the North Slope and subsistence hunt in Arctic waters are among those who support that development.”

The Interior Department is expected this week to unveil its final five-year plan for offshore oil and natural gas lease sales and both industry and environmental sources believe proposed Arctic sales are more likely to be eliminated due to Republican Donald Trump’s electoral victory. Headlamp hopes that calmer heads prevail and the leases are maintained.  President Trump can rescind the action but it will take time. 


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First Reads

Here’s what low oil prices have done to Alaska’s jobs picture
Alaska Dispatch News, Annie Zak, November 13, 2016

Commentary on pipeline oil flow is flat wrong
Alaska Dispatch News, Adm. Tom Barrett, November 12, 2016

As Crude Collapsed, Alaska Capitalized on the U.S. Housing Bust
Wall Street Journal, Ryan Dezember, November 13, 2016

Keep Arctic Alaska In Play For America’s Economic, Energy Security
Investor’s Business Daily, Mark Perry, November 11, 2016

Will Trump reverse Obama’s Arctic policies? It’s too early to tell
Arctic Now, Yereth Rosen, November 11, 2016

Mining group eyes Livengood spot for potential large-scale gold mine
Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Kevin Baird, November 11, 2016

US Interior offshore oil and natural gas leasing plan may be complicated by Trump win
Platts, November 11, 2016

Coal stocks soar after Trump win
The Hill, Timothy Cama, November 11, 2016