A year of tumbling oil prices has caused thousands of job losses throughout Louisiana, slowed energy production, delayed new investment, and sent state and local officials scrambling to plug budget holes created by the industry’s latest boom-or-bust cycle.Louisiana could have spent the happy times shoring up public services, building infrastructure, and saving for the future. Instead Bobby Jindal spent everything on tax breaks for wealthy friends and allies. Not sure what happens next.
As prices sank below $35 per barrel last week to hit six-year lows, the latest federal jobs numbers had a grim look: Louisiana’s sector that includes oil and gas jobs lost more than 10,000 workers — nearly 19 percent — in the 12 months ending in November.
That’s the lowest point since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began using its current tracking system in 1990.
“Every day, I hope we hit bottom, until we get up the next day and realize the bottom is (lower) than we thought,” said Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph, whose sales tax revenue fell nearly 14 percent in the first 10 months of the year.
Talk around holiday dinner tables throughout Louisiana is certain to include questions about whether the state is headed toward another devastating recession along the lines of the 1980s oil bust.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Happy times is over