A leading oil and natural gas trade group has “wildly inflated” the number of American jobs in fracking, in part by including gas station and convenience store workers in their counts, according to a new study.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) has been accused of overstating fracking jobs in “a clear attempt to defend the economically struggling industry that is linked to air, water and climate pollution”, Food & Water Watch (FWW) said on Friday.
A recent API study found that 7.5million jobs were at risk from a fracking ban, including more than 500,000 in Pennsylvania, where the industry is a hot-button election issue.
According to the new analysis, this vastly differs from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on fracking, which counts 636,000 total jobs, and 26,000 in Pennsylvania.
FWW, an environmental protection group, said API’s fracking figures include both “indirect” jobs, those in the supply chain for an industry, and “induced” jobs, those supported by wages from both direct and indirect jobs.
This means jobs in a number of sectors like fertilizer and chemical manufacturing are included in totals.
Gas station and convenience store workers also made up nearly 35 per cent of all “oil and gas industry” jobs that API counts, according to the study.
The pro-fracking trade association is also accused of inflating the number of employees who work directly in fracking.
API states that 685,000 workers are in gas and oil extraction, roughly half a million more than the 143,000 employee count by the Bureau of Labor, FWW said.
The Independent has contacted API for comment.
FWW Research Director Alison Grass said: “It’s more important than ever to accurately assess how many workers are employed in the oil and gas fracking industries. For years, the industry has concocted wildly inflated employment numbers in an effort to blunt criticism of the toll that fracking has taken on our air, water, and climate.
“Our analysis offers convincing evidence that employment benefits of fracking have been overhyped to manipulate the public and policymakers. Frackers have been far more effective at creating illusions than jobs.”
The economic downturn in the wake of COVID-19 has hit the already beleaguered fracking industry. Between 2012 and 2017, the 30 biggest shale frackers lost a combined $50 billion, according to the WSJ.
Trump’s love of the oil and gas industry was made crystal clear on Thursday when his administration sought $3bn from Congress to top up US petroleum reserves, potentially propping up U.S. oil producers after crude prices crashed globally, AP reported.
Fracking remains an important issue for voters ahead of the 2020 election. Senator Bernie Sanders is calling for an all-out ban on fracking while former VP Joe Biden has stopped short of that, saying he wants a ban on “new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters”.