If you were one of the people who found the news of the Great Recession ending a little ironic, you are not alone. Although the group that tracks recessions announced earlier this week that the recession officially ended in June of 2009, it certainly doesn’t feel that way to America’s almost 15 million unemployed. In fact, the unemployment rate has actually ticked up since the supposed end of the recession. In June of 2009, it stood at 9.5%; this past August, unemployment was 9.6%.
This persistent lack of jobs has created an enormous amount of pain. Just last week, the Census Bureau reported that one in seven Americans – and one in five children – are living below the poverty line. Then this week – right after we learned that the Great Recession was supposedly ancient history – new state data was released showing that unemployment rates rose in most states in August. Jobless rates rose to 8.3% in Texas, 7.6% in Louisiana, a 22-year high of 7% in Oklahoma, and 12.4% in California.
Clearly jobs – or the lack thereof – are at the core of all of the country’s economic distress. CEA has partnered with energy and consumers on a series of job rallies in some of the places that have been hard hit by job loss, and this week we are continuing that rally by helping to partner in a virtual format online. We want to highlight how many jobs the country’s oil and gas industry supports and tell our lawmakers that this time of historically high unemployment is no time to impose crippling restrictions on that industry.
Now, to the casual observer, this all may seem like yesterday’s news. But even now that the ruptured BP well in the Gulf of Mexico has been killed, the drilling moratorium in the Gulf remains in place. A new government analysis of the ban estimates that it will cost the country up to 12,000 jobs. And because that analysis fails to account for all the indirect job loss that will result from reduced spending by oil companies, most other analyses project a much larger number of jobs lost. And, with just one month remaining on the ban, fears are mounting that a tighter regulatory environment will become the new normal, making it difficult for jobs to return.
Clearly this is no time to forget about the ongoing crisis in the Gulf, and the jobs it is costing us all around the country. Please join us in rallying for regulations that are fair and reasonable – and will allow our industry to create jobs.