The Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew up and sank almost four months ago, starting the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The question we asked shortly after was, “How will this environmental disaster impact the economies of the gulf coast counties?” Here we give an update on what we are seeing.
Our current data goes through June, which should begin to show the impact of the disaster. Yet, looking at the graphs below, we are not yet seeing any negative economic signs for the gulf coast counties as a whole. Beginning in the first few months of this year, the economies of gulf coast counties in all four states began a significant upswing. This does not mean that there aren’t any negative impacts from the oil disaster. It just means that they either are occurring in domains not well covered by our data sources (e.g. fishing) or are small compared to the county economies as a whole. Furthermore, some portion of the upswing is likely due to BP’s infusion of cleanup money into the area, an infusion that will eventually taper off.
Our data looks at total wages paid in all industries. When time permits, we will do an analysis of two industries most likely impacted by Deepwater Horizon: Oil and Gas Well Drilling, and Leisure and Hospitality. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has articles on these industries, but their data ends in September 2009, long before any of us had heard of Deepwater Horizon.