New Orleans, La. – G-N-O President Michael Hecht says earlier predictions of massive job losses linked to the drilling moratorium haven't materialized.
"Our initial projections, or expectations of job loss, did not come to pass as early as we expected up front."
Hecht says BP money funneled into local economies helped, as well as a slower-than-expected rate of small businesses collapsing.
"Companies, ranging from the majors down to independent businesses have - either for reasons of practicality or loyalty - have held on to their employees more tenaciously than we might have necessarily expected upfront."
The economic-development group says the coming months are critical. It says shallow-water drilling permits not included in the moratorium were withheld along with deepwater permits, but are now being issued in numbers approaching historic averages. He says deepwater permits are down 90 percent. Hecht says a clearer picture on the effects on jobs will emerge from first quarter reports in the spring.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming