Green Business

Green Jobs Driving Economic Growth Faster than Other Industries

| by AFL-CIO

The renewable energy industry has grown steadily over the past decade, adding jobs at more than twice the national rate, according to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses and Investments Across America” reports on the first-ever count across all 50 states of the actual jobs, companies and venture capital investments that supply the growing market demand for environmentally friendly products and services.

The study found that solar and wind-power companies, energy-efficient light bulb makers, environmental engineering firms and others expanded their workforce by 9.1 percent from 1998 to 2007, while the average job growth in all industries was 3.7 percent.

There was a similar pattern at the state level, where job growth in the clean energy economy outperformed overall job growth in 38 states and the District of Columbia during the same period.

The report also found that green jobs are poised to expand significantly, driven by increasing consumer demand, venture capital infusions and federal and state policy reforms. The study was completed before the Obama administration announced plans to make a greener economy a top national priority. The AFL-CIO and its affiliates are pushing to ensure that the green jobs created are also good jobs that provide a decent wage and benefits.

“The clean energy economy is poised for explosive growth,” said Lori Grange, interim deputy director of the Pew Center on the States.

These jobs are driving economic growth and environmental sustainability at a time when America needs both. There is a potential competitive advantage for federal and state policy leaders who act now to spur jobs, businesses and investments in the clean energy sector.

The report said the emerging clean energy economy is creating well-paying jobs in every state for people of all skill levels and educational backgrounds.

“There is bipartisan support and a growing market demand for transitioning to the clean energy economy,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director, U.S. Global Warming Campaign at the Pew Environment Group.

Americans understand the transition is good for the overall economy, is creating new opportunities for jobs and business growth, and helps protect our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Congress and the Obama administration can and must produce energy and global warming legislation that creates jobs, enhances energy independence and sustains our environment.