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Norway's labor sector bruised by low oil prices

Data finds reduced investments are taking their toll on employment.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Norwegian government says weak investments in the oil and gas sector means fewer jobs in the country as the bulk of the industry is tied to domestic companies. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI
Norwegian government says weak investments in the oil and gas sector means fewer jobs in the country as the bulk of the industry is tied to domestic companies. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

OSLO, Norway, May 18 (UPI) -- The Norwegian government said reduced investments in the petroleum industry led to an increase in unemployment in the country last year.

Data gathered by Statistics Norway, the government's record-keeping agency, found total investments in oil, gas, manufacturing, mining and electricity for 2015 were around $28 billion, down 9.4 percent year-on-year. For oil and gas alone, the year-on-year decline was 11.8 percent.

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In 2013, about 8.7 percent of the total labor pool in Norway was tied to the industry. About 18 percent of the industry's demand for goods was linked to foreign markets, indicating the domestic market was tied tightly to oil and natural gas.

Based on data surveyed from Statistics Norway, the number of people employed in the petroleum industry declined about 11 percent in the two-year period ending in 2015.

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"This reduction in the number of employed individuals linked to the petroleum industry, due to reduced investments in the industry, is about the same as the increase in the number of unemployed individuals in Norway in the period," the agency said. "Correspondingly, the employment rate fell from 8.7 percent to 7.5 percent from 2013 to 2015."

A labor force survey finds a decrease of 9,000 in the headcount for mining and quarrying, the industry dominated by oil and gas, year-on-year. That industry is dominated by men, suggesting one part of the Norwegian population is pressured by sector weakness more than the other.

Analysis from Graves & Co., which provides energy transaction services to the oil and gas industry, found the global number of industry job losses as of May 6 was just over 350,000.

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The trend reflects lower spending during a market downturn characterized by lower crude oil prices. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its latest monthly market report it estimated about $290 billion was cut from spending plans across the globe in the last year.

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