Alaska’s unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent last month, which would be its lowest level in more than a decade. But the figure is preliminary and could still change; the state’s unemployment rate had stood at 6.5 percent since August. State labor department economist Karinne Wiebold says until there are several months of movement in a certain direction it is too early to say if this means anything. Federal labor statistics show the last time Alaska’s unemployment rate was 6.4 percent was December 2007. The state labor department says Alaska gained 900 jobs between May 2018 and last month. Construction added the most jobs during that time, followed by the oil and gas sector. Manufacturing, which the department says is mostly seafood processing, was down 600 jobs over that period.
Our Take: Great new for Alaska! Construction added the most jobs – let’s keep that trend going- legislators – please fund the capital budget!!!
Russia Withholds Opinion on OPEC+ greement, Waiting for G20
Dina Khrennikova & Olga Tanas, Bloomberg, June 24, 2019
Russia is sticking to its wait-and-see approach on the future of the OPEC+ deal, while its neighbors Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan favor an extension of oil-production cuts due to expire this month. “We need to wait until the G-20 leaders’ meeting” in Japan this week, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters in St. Petersburg. “We’ll see what will be discussed there, how the economic situation will develop.” The Energy Ministry is still holding talks with Russian oil companies on OPEC+ pact options, according to Novak. Just a week remains before the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners will meet in Vienna to decide whether to prolong the deal. While Saudi Arabia has said a rollover “is almost in the bag for OPEC,” with some adjustments possible for non-OPEC countries, Russia, one of the architects of the current deal, has been holding back amid differing views from its biggest oil companies over the benefits of cooperation.
Blue States Roll Out Aggressive Climate Strategies. Red States Keep to the Sidelines.
Brad Plumer, The New York Times, June 21, 2019
At a time when the country is already deeply fractured along partisan lines, individual states are starting to pursue vastly different policies on climate change with the potential to cement an economic and social divide for years to come. A growing number of blue states are adopting sweeping new climate laws — such as New York’s bill, passed this week, to zero out net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — that aim to reorient their entire economies around clean energy, transforming the way people get their electricity, heat their homes and commute to work. But these laws are passing almost exclusively in states controlled by Democrats, while Republican-led states have largely resisted enacting aggressive new climate policies in recent years. At the same time, the Trump administration is rolling back federal climate regulations, which means many red states now face even less pressure to shift away from coal power or gas-guzzling vehicles.
Our Take: Mandates vs. the Free Market. “States have always competed with each other for business by offering beneficial tax rates, labor laws or health care policies. However, some of the new climate policies are striving to be much more far-reaching, affecting so many different industries that they could reshape the geography of America’s economy.” Our money is on the free market approach.
From the Washington Examiner’s Daily on Energy:
TRUMP URGES CALLS ON ASIAN NATIONS TO PROTECT OIL PASSING THROUGH THE STRAIT OF HORMUZ: Trump urged Asian countries Monday to do more to protect oil passing through Strait of Hormuz.
“China gets 91% of its Oil from the Straight, Japan 62%, & many other countries likewise,” Trump said in a Twitter post, misspelling “Strait.”
“So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation?” Trump said. “All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been a dangerous journey. We don’t even need to be there in that the U.S. has just become (by far) the largest producer of Energy anywhere in the world!”
Of the 60% of global oil that travels by sea, about 30% of that traverses through the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. has accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz this month.
While the U.S. is depending less on oil imports from the Middle East, it still imported more than 32,000 barrels of oil from Gulf countries in March, according to the Energy Information Administration.