The green job movement has often been criticized as an over-hyped, failed initiative, but the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) has all but put that criticism to rest with the release of a five-page fact sheet on jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
According to a 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, there were 3.4 million green jobs in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2011. A study from the Brookings Institution and Battelle found that these jobs directly employed 2.7 million people in the “clean economy” in 2010, more than the 2.4 million employed in the fossil fuel industry.
The BLS definition of green jobs includes more than just employment in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors; pollution reduction and removal, greenhouse gas reduction, and wildlife conservation are other areas that contribute to the green jobs market.
But in the field of renewable energy alone, the EESI report estimates that this sector has added between 903,536 and 1,055,536 jobs. A summary of U.S. job estimates broken down by type of clean energy can be found below.
As the economy continues to recover, green jobs will play an important role in sustainable market growth, and they will provide an ever-increasing span of jobs that combine green skill sets with more traditional ones.
This study reveals that criticism surrounding green jobs is misplaced and shows that it’s likely the “green jobs are a failure” rhetoric persists because they simply got mixed up with a failed economy.