Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

18-to-1 optimism in refinery bailout plan

18 supporting job for every refinery job, really?

18-to-1 optimism in refinery bailout plan

Pennsylvania's $25 milllion taxpayer subsidy to help buyout investor Carlyle Group renovate Sunoco's former South Philadelphia oil refineries "prevents (the city's unemployment rate) from rising by one percentage point," claims Moody's Investors Service analyst Geordie Thompson in a report last Friday.

It's a very reassuring report for Philadelphia; it notes the city's unemployment rate will stay just three points higher than the state's as a whole, thanks to the Carlyle project.

One percent of what? Close to 1 million Philadelphians are in the workforce; more than 100,000 of those are out of work; the refinery employs just 850.

But Moody's estimates there are "15,000 ancillary jobs that would have been lost had Sunoco closed the plant." Thompson tells me maybe half of those are in Philadelphia. He bases the estimate on a report titled "Reemployment Assessment and Economic Impact of ConocoPhillips and Sunoco Closings" by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor's Center for Workforce Information and Analysis.

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18 support jobs for every refinery job? I found a copy of the four-page report at the United Steelworkers union site here and a union press release about how the report was "leaked" here. 

The report is uninformative; it estimates dependent jobs apparently by fiat, and doesn't tie the positions to Philadelphia or any other physical location. The report is not posted at the state Labor Department site. A press office worker told me the department "took it down." Waiting to learn more.

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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