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Harvard Economist: BP Oil Spill Devastated Florida Economy


The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster devastated the economy of West-Central and Southwest Florida according to a knew study by a former Obama Administration economist. Joseph Aldy, now a professor at Harvard, released his findings yesterday in a paper titled “Labor Market Impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Off shore Drilling Momentum.”

While Aldy opines that the spill may have temporarily increased employment opportunities and wages in the areas physically impacted by oil (LA, AL – due to demand for clean-up workers), the Florida Gulf Coast, particularly south of the Panhandle, experienced massive job losses. This despite the fact that the area endured very little physical oiling (and hence no clean-up demand).

Aldy’s analysis shows a net increase of approximately 6,000 jobs in oiled areas and a net decrease of 50,000 jobs along the Florida Gulf Coast, south of the Panhandle.

Job losses associated with BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

The Florida Gulf Coast, particularly the area south of the Panhandle, endured the greatest job losses. This includes large metropolitan areas like Tampa / St. Petersburg, Sarasota / Bradenton, Ft. Myers / Naples as well as the tourism dependent Florida Keys.

Of course, just because jobs involving environmental remediation and mitigation were created and may have temporarily benefited the oiled regions, other industries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Panhandle Florida suffered serious harm. Non-Panhandle Florida simply took the worst of it. While a narrow ribbon of industries may have benefited from the spill, the vast majority did not.


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  1. David Arnsby says:
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    Tom Young, thank you your very accurate data on Business and Job Losses in SW Florida, caused by the BP Disaster.
    I can personally vouch for the accuracy, as West Coast Tourism plummeted 13.9 % in the Summer and Fall of 2010.
    That survey Data was provided by ARPC , ordered by and supplied to BP. Is my spelling OK, Bob

  2. up arrow

    […] Harvard Economist: BP Oil Spill Devastated Florida Economy 5 days ago […]

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    […] That said, Her Majesty’s timing was impeccable, coming mere hours after United States District Court Judge Carl Barbier handed down a 150+ page ruling finding that the convicted corporate felon that is BP was grossly negligent and engaged in willful misconduct that lead to the Deepwater Horizon disaster which killed 11 Americans, destroyed the Gulf of Mexico, and wrecked the economy of the Gulf Coast (particularly Florida). […]

  4. up arrow

    […] That said, determining loss is not as easy as you may think and it is not a job for the layperson. Don’t just assume you were not affected because you don’t run a bait shop on Panama City Beach. In fact, some of the areas hardest hit by the economic fallout suffered little if any physical oiling. […]

  5. up arrow

    […] of the severity of the impact BP’s spill had on our economy, one need look no further than a study released by Harvard University in August 2014. As depicted in the chart above, the West Coast of Florida, particularly the Tampa Bay area […]

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