But the EPI study does not address whether the merger would ultimately result in more jobs — after factoring in potential layoffs.
AT&T has said it expects to save $3 billion annually from the deal but has not explained whether that would include job cuts. An AT&T spokesperson said that the company expects to keep all of its call-center jobs and that most of the reduction in the company’s workforce would come from attrition rather than layoffs.
In another big corporate merger the government is looking at, Capital One has proposed acquiring ING Group’s online banking unit for $9 billion. The company says the deal would create 500 new jobs in Delaware. It has also said, though, that it expects $90 million in cost savings from the merger. Capital One declined to say whether positions would be cut.
For more than a year, the API has been highlighting the number of jobs it says are linked to the oil and gas industry.
“Sure, you know oil and natural gas fuel transportation and comfort,” a blond-haired woman in a black pantsuit says in one API television ad. Behind her, silver trucks and cars glide by, an African American family shares a meal, people pour out of a rush-hour train. Then a crowd appears before giant letters that read: “9.2 million JOBS.”
But many economists say that the API has exaggerated the number of jobs linked to the oil and gas industry by including direct and indirect jobs (such as steel suppliers), and a seldom-used category known as “induced” jobs that API says covers everything from valets to day-care providers, from librarians to rocket scientists.
Moreover, the single biggest category of people working directly for the petroleum industry is cashiers at gasoline stations and stations with convenience stores — 533,830 of them, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet hardly any of those cashiers pump gas, check engines or inflate tires; mostly they ring up sales of snacks, not gasoline. According to the Labor Department, their median hourly wage is a meager $8.68.
“As the old saying goes, statistics do not lie but statisticians do,” said Philip K. Verleger, an economist, consultant and retired professor of management at the University of Calgary’s business school. “The API is the best there is at lying with statistics.”
“Anybody dismissing any kind of a job is silly,” responded John Felmy, chief economist of the API, adding that including cashiers as industry workers is “a matter of BLS accounting.”