Oil Spill Won't Hurt National Economy: Report

As big as the Gulf of Mexico oil slick is, it won't have a major impact on the national economy, according to a new report by Moody's Economy.com.

The oil spill caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig last month is hurting businesses in areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida -- but those places represent only 1 percent of the gross domestic product and national employment "so broad macroeconomic effects are unlikely, at least in the near term," the report said.

The spill's impact, locally, however, will be uncertain. According to Moody's Economy.com:

Tourism: Prevailing winds, thus far, have moved the spill west, keeping damage minimal in tourist areas in Florida and the coasts of Alabama and Mississippi. Still, the tourism industry could suffer as travelers worried about the spill may hesitate to book beach vacations in the region.

Fishing: Louisiana's fishing industry is at risk, with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration banning commercial and recreational fishing in 4.5 percent of the Gulf Coast's federal waters.

"If the spill reaches coastal waterways where the marine life hatches and develops, the industry could face years of disruption," the report said.

Fish caught in the region -- mostly shrimp and oyster harvest -- is worth nearly $400 million per year dockside. The retail value of the catches, however, is much greater.

Shipping: Thus far, shipping lanes and port activity have been mostly unaffected. But if the slick does reach Gulf Coast ports, it could force them to shut down and block tankers and cargo ships.

The port of New Orleans is most at risk, but if the slick continues to move west, it also could hurt operations near the port of Morgan City, La. Cargo moving through the two ports accounts for just under 7 percent of total U.S. waterborne cargo shipments.

Energy: The slick's impact on energy production and energy prices in the U.S. is expected to be minimal, with just two oil and natural gas productions in the Gulf -- out of 4,000 -- stopping production because of the spill.

Jobs Created: Jobs created by the oil cleanup and containment effort at least partly could compensate for spill-related job losses in Gulf industries.

BP, the owner of the oil well where the rig was based, has said it has spent $350 million in cleanup costs so far. Exxon spent a total of roughly 11 times that much on its cleanup of the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989.

The Gulf of Mexico spill and its expected economic impact often have been compared to Exxon Valdez, but a number of other spills in the years following Exxon Valdez also have taken heavy tolls on economies around the globe.

On the following pages, ABCNews.com takes a quick look at some of the biggest oil spills to damage bottom lines since 1989.

San Francisco, 2007

The Cosco Busan, a container ship, spilled more than 50,000 gallons of fuel into San Francisco Bay after crashing into a tower of the San Francisco Bay Bridge in November 2007. It was a relatively minor spill by historical standards, but it created big problems for the area's local crab fishermen.

The disaster prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to temporarily halt fishing around the bay a week before commercial crab season was scheduled to begin.

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