"There is no evidence of declining employment after the moratorium was announced," the White House report states.
The new report projects up to 12,000 temporary job losses in the region, almost half the original prediction from the government, and that the jobs will not be permanently lost, but resume after the end of the drilling ban.
"Contrary to the worst-case assumptions in prior studies, many deepwater drilling operators and contractors have kept most of their employees on payroll.... Earlier studies assumed that these employees would have been let go," the report states.
The issues for oil and gas companies in the Gulf of Mexico in the post-BP oil spill era are much more significant than just a tally of actual jobs lost versus predicted job losses.
The White House can make the claim that the oil industry's rhetoric in the wake of the drilling ban was hyperbolic in the case of jobs, but activity in shallow water drilling hasn't returned to normal, due to new permitting requirement, and shallow water was not even part of the drilling ban. The drilling ban is to be lifted in November, but energy companies say the impact will be felt for years to come.
Readers of TheStreet
were none too happy about the attempt by the White House to reduce the drilling ban debate to a jobs lost tally.
One reader wrote, "The reason that job losses have not been as big, is that drilling companies are holding on to their employees because they cannot afford to lay them off and risking losing them after they spend so much time training them. But make no mistake, these companies are suffering major losses holding on to employees without any new drilling permits being awarded. How long can these companies afford to do this? Pretty soon, they will have to take their rigs to other parts of the world."