Volatile oil prices: The Pacific Northwest feels the impact


Wednesday, February 25, 2015. Big fluctuations in the price of oil over the past six months have thrown the world’s economies into turmoil–and the Pacific Northwest is no exception.

As the price of oil fell more than 50 percent, gas prices in the Northwest plunged to their lowest levels in years, potentially saving motorists hundreds of dollars a year. However, those same falling oil prices have pushed the value of the Canadian dollar to around 80 cents U.S., lowering the spending power of Canadians shopping in Whatcom County and roiling the Canadian economy. Oil prices rebounded a bit from the low levels of January, but the volatile market continues to have an enormous impact on decisions of governments, businesses and consumers.

To help us make sense of the impact of oil prices on our regional, national and international economies, two expert economists will speak at our Feb. 25 meeting.


Amar Mann is the Chief Economist of the Western Region of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, based in San Francisco. The bureau is the chief federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Mann has written extensively on economic issues of the West.

Ken Peacock is Chief Economist and Vice President at the Business Council of British Columbia, an association representing approximately 260 large and mid-sized companies that together account for approximately one-quarter of all jobs in the province.