CNBC Host Jim Cramer's False Keystone XL Hype: Pipelines Are “The Largest Creators Of Jobs”

In agitating for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, CNBC host Jim Cramer falsely claimed that the transnational oil pipeline could create 60,000 jobs in four weeks and further erroneously claimed that pipelines “have been the largest producer of jobs in the past four years” in the United States. In fact, evidence from the State Department and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate Cramer has vastly overestimated both Keystone XL's job creation potential as well as the impact of the pipeline industry as a whole in adding jobs to the economy.

Cramer's erroneous comments about Keystone XL came during the April 7 edition of Meet the Press on NBC: 

Contrary to Cramer's assertion, a State Department report on Keystone XL released on March 1 found that the pipeline would create approximately 42,100 jobs for a one-to two-year period, including 3,900 annual construction jobs during this period. However operation of the pipeline would only create “35 permanent and 15 temporary jobs” meaning that Keystone XL “would have negligible socioeconomic impacts.”

Cramer is also wrong that pipelines “have been the largest producer of jobs in the past four years.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pipeline industry employs approximately 43,310 individuals annually, with jobs involving the transportation of crude oil accounting for 8,680 of that total. By comparison, the BLS estimates that, in the private sector alone, over 2.5 million individuals are employed in “green goods and services,” a designation created by BLS to describe jobs and businesses “that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.”

Cramer also ignored the potential detrimental environmental impacts that could be caused by Keystone XL. According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, Keystone XL could increase U.S. carbon emissions by the equivalent of four million additional cars on the road in part because the diluted bitumen oil that would be transported through Keystone XL from the tar sands of Western Canada is more “emission-intensive” than other crude oils.

Furthermore, concerns have been raised that the Keystone XL pipeline route is an ecological threat because it crosses a large aquifer that provides drinking water for two million people and other areas particularly vulnerable to a spill. As the recent pipeline spill in Arkansas that flooded a neighborhood with crude oil demonstrated, pipelines transporting oil are not infallible. According to a PBS report on the March 29 Arkansas spill, which occurred near the Lake Maumelle watershed, 364 oil pipeline spills occurred in the United States in 2012.