Study Shows Where Green Jobs are Growing

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In a report titled, Counting up to Green, the Economic Policy Institute dug into the data to determine which sectors are going green the fastest and what those trends might tell us.  Using data released in March from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic Policy Institute researcher Ethan Pollack found some interesting data points about the greenest industries. For starters, they are growing faster than their non-green counterparts and they have more to offer less educated workers. Information provided by Cylvia Hayes Clean Economy Bulletin

“The debate over green jobs has gotten politicized and polarized,” Pollack said. “We wanted to try get away from that and see what the data says.”

According to the BLS definition, green jobs are either jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or ensuring that they use fewer natural resources.

Oregon has 54,953 such jobs, placing it at No. 5 in the U.S. for having a green-intensive per-capita workforce. Vermont was ranked No. 1, followed by Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington.

Oregon ranks highly but if you just look at the industry mix, that would suggest that it would be less green than the national average,” Pollack said. “The reason why has everything to do with its industries within the state are actually greener than their national counterparts.”Pollack said that Oregon‘s natural resources-related jobs, its construction jobs and its manufacturing jobs are all greener than those sectors in other states.

Pollack’s “Counting up Green” report also found the following general trends in the nationwide data:

* Greener industries grow faster than the overall economy. For every percentage-point increase in an industry’s share of employment in green jobs, annual employment growth was 0.034 percentage points higher. Projections for the next 10 years suggest that trend will continue.

* States with a higher share of green jobs have fared better – in general – during the economic downturn.

* Green jobs are accessible to workers who don’t have a college degree. The analysis found that for every one percentage-point increase in green job-intensity in a given industry, there was a corresponding 0.28 percentage-point increase in the share of jobs in that industry held by workers without a four-year college degree.

* Manufacturing represents 10.8 percent of the total private employment, but it accounts for 20.4 percent of green jobs.

* Green jobs go beyond the renewable energy. The report finds nearly 50 percent of water industry jobs are green with the industry slated to go even greener.

An analysis of the report published in Huffington Post, points out that green job growth would only pick up the pace with comprehensive government policies to nurture green-related industries.

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