President Barack Obama's decision to delay approval of the Keystone Pipeline project is hurting job creation opportunities in the United States, particularly among Hispanics, said officials with the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday.
The Keystone Pipeline will not only help lower oil prices for U.S. consumers, but have a ripple effect spreading outward from Nebraska and neighboring states to create jobs and help small businesses.
This job creation will be helpful in particular for the U.S. Hispanic population, the unemployment rate for which is one to two points higher than other demographic groups in the United States.
The Los Angeles Times reported in 2010 that the unemployment rate among U.S. Hispanics rose because of their disproportionate unemployment in industries and regions significantly impacted by the economic downturn.
According to a U.S. Department of Labor report, the unemployment rate among Latinos in the United States averaged 11.5 percent in 2011; the most recent unemployment report in February 2012 shows improvement for all Americans, including Latinos, who have seen their unemployment rate decline to 10.7 percent in February from a high of 13.1 percent in November 2010.
In 2011, 5.8 percent of Latinos were self-employed compared to 7.2 percent among whites, partly due to lower educational attainment and less access to financial wealth.
The entry rate of Latinos into self-employment compares favorably to that of non-Latino Whites and their entry rate is even higher compared with whites in low-barrier sectors, according to the Department of Labor report. However, Latinos tend to have lower success rates with their new businesses and exit self-employment at a higher rate than whites.
People of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity represented 15 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2011, or nearly 23 million workers. By 2020, Latinos are expected to comprise 19 percent of the U.S. labor force, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
API 'Disappointed' in Keystone Delay, Impact on Jobs
"We're disappointed that the current administration doesn't see how this project doesn't add up," said Hispanic Leadership Fund President Mario Lopez during a conference call with reporters, noting that the project appears to be delayed for political reasons.
"Four years ago, Obama promised to push unemployment lower and lead us out of the depression," Lopez said. "Approval of the Keystone pipeline would demonstrate to all Americans and to Latinos across the country that he cares about jobs and domestic energy."
API has committed significant resources to support all aspects of the Keystone project.
"The earth hasn't moved and the geology hasn't changed," said API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin, adding that the Keystone pipeline project is "as ready as it can get."
Durbin said that imports of Canadian oil sands supply to the U.S. Gulf Coast would not create a supply glut, but would displace oil imported from other countries.
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