“If you had to guess what metropolitan area that would be concentrated in, most people would say baton Rouge, because that’s where state government is headquartered, and two state universities are located. But government employment in the Baton Rouge area rose 300,” he said.
New Orleans, “the next place you’d look,” lost 1,700 government jobs. “That leaves an awful lot left over — and it’s not clear where those losses were,” Scott said.More government losses are likely on the way, as Gov. Bobby Jindal announced today a proposal to eliminate 4,000 state jobs — half of which are currently filled — and Baton Rouge could be hard hit this time.
“Both Lafayette and Houma not only had job growth, they had good job growth. Houma had off-the-charts good job growth — they increased 4.2 percent. This is very different from what we anticipated,” Scott said Thursday.
He wasn’t sure where the jobs were coming from. One possibility is that oil and gas companies already are hiring people to plug nearly 3,500 nonproducing wells and dismantle about 650 production platforms that are no longer used.
“My back-of-the-envelope estimate is that’s going to cost about $3.8 billion. That’s a lot of money,” he said. But he didn’t know whether that was happening.
Read the AP story here.
Back in October, Scott did not think the Obama administration’s new requirement that all Gulf of Mexico oil wells and platforms not in use in the past five years be inspected, re-capped and dismantled would have much of a net impact here. There are some 3,500 abandoned wells and 650 oil platforms affected by the measure.
“It will create jobs in some sectors, but remember it is a direct hit to the bottom line of exploration companies — dollars they could be using more efficiently for exploration purposes,” Scott said at the time. “While good news for some service companies, it is totally bad news for the exploration side. It is a demand also based on bad science. They want to reduce risk of environmental damage ‘especially during storm season.’ Katrina and Rita came right through the heart of the offshore industry — not a single major spill.” Scott called the mandage “just another attack by the Obama administration on the fossil fuels industry.”
Scott, who in October predicted the Lafayette metro would lose 3,800 jobs in the next two years, in large part due to the drilling moratorium, had reversed his job loss prediction by late February. Scott now expects a gain of 2,500 jobs over the same period, or an uptick of just under 1 percent each year. He delivered that message last month at an awards breakfast for top performers at Van Eaton & Romero Real Estate.