Keystone pipeline boosters have argued the project will create jobs, lots of jobs. US Chamber of Commerce president, Tom Donohue, has estimated the pipeline will create 20,000 jobs immediately and upwards of 250,000 over the lifetime of the project. Later Donohue actually upped the ante: "In fact, by knocking down the barriers, we can unlock up to $250 billion in private capital for infrastructure. Leverage this with public investments, and we could create 1.9 million jobs over 10 years."
Sounds awfully persuasive, doesn't it? It might if the numbers were real. They're not. In fact the U.S. State Department ran the numbers and concluded the Keystone XL pipeline, once up and running, would generate - wait for it - 20 jobs. That's not 20-thousand and it's not 250-thousand and certainly not 1.9-million. It's 20, that's it.
Ray Perryman, a consultant hired by TransCanada to assess
the economic impact of the project, said 20,000 temporary jobs
equates to 10,000 full-time jobs.
“The average number of full-time equivalent jobs per year
will depend on the construction time (10,000 if two years, 8,000
if 2.5 years, etc.),” Perryman said in an e-mail. “The most
important concept is that construction jobs are temporary.”
The State Department, which has jurisdiction over the
project because it crosses an international border, estimates
the construction workforce will be between 5,000 and 6,000. A
study from the Cornell Global Labor Institute School of
Industrial and Labor Relations in New York says construction
jobs may be in the 2,500 to 4,650 range.