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Green Job Data is 'Sequestered,' As Final BLS Report Shows Swift Growth
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March 27, 2013

Green Job Data is 'Sequestered,' As Final BLS Report Shows Swift Growth

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

Along with White House tours, Americans will no longer have access to new data on green jobs under the sequester that began on March 1.

As required by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) must cut its current budget by more than $30 million — equivalent to 5 percent of the 2013 appropriation — by next September 30. In order to help achieve these savings and protect core programs, the BLS will eliminate two programs and all "measuring [of] green jobs"

Gone, but not forgotten, will be:

  • Data on employment by industry and occupation for businesses that produce green goods and services
  • Data on the occupations and wages of jobs related to green technologies and practices
  • Green career information publications

The last scheduled release of green jobs data, which took place earlier this month, covered employment during 2011. And it brought good news: Cumulatively, green jobs represented only 2.6 percent of all employment that year, but a comparison with 2010 data shows that these jobs grew at four times the rate of all the others combined, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Green employment jumped 4.9 percent in 2011 from the prior year. That compares with a gain of 1.2 percent for all jobs— and 2.7 percent for restaurants, 1.7 percent for manufacturing and 1.8 percent for healthcare, which is often seen as the fastest-growing sector.

The growth in green jobs in 2011 corresponded to an upswing in public and private capital invested in clean energy that year. Total investments in clean energy business and development jumped 42 percent in America year-over-year from 2010, to $48 billion, according to an earlier report by Pew Charitable Trusts.

That was more than any other country, with China and Germany not far behind.

Specifically, the number of GGS jobs increased by 157,746, to 3,401,279. GGS employment accounted for 2.3 percent of private sector jobs and 4.2 percent of public sector jobs in 2011. The private sector had 2,515,200 GGS jobs, while the public sector had 886,080 GGS jobs.

Among private sector industries, construction had the largest employment rate increase, from 7.0 to 8.9 percentage points (or 487,709 GGS jobs in 2011), while manufacturing had the most GGS jobs cumulatively (507,168). Examples of green goods and services produced by manufacturing industries include iron and steel from recycled inputs, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment meeting selected standards, hybrid cars and parts, and pollution mitigation equipment.

Utilities documented 71,129 GGS jobs in 2011, or 12.9 percent of total private utilities employment. The private utility sector added 2,098 GGS jobs in 2011 – a 3.0-percent increase. Among the industries involved in private sector electric power generation, nuclear electric power generation reported the highest GGS employment, with 44,054 jobs in 2011. Hydroelectric power generation had the second largest GGS employment, with 3,780 GGS jobs.

 Wind electric power generation was third with 2,724 GGS jobs – followed by biomass electric power generation (1,166), geothermal electric power generation (1,017), and solar electric power generation (522).

Among the states, California had the largest number of GGS jobs, accounting for 2.5 percent of employment in the state. The District of Columbia had the highest proportion of GGS employment, at 5.1 percent; Oregon had the second highest proportion, at 4.3 percent.

Ten states reported over 100,000 GGS jobs in 2011: California (360,245), New York (266,308), Texas (227,532), Pennsylvania (167,397), Ohio (137,143), Illinois (136,447), Florida (117,433), North Carolina (108,094), Virginia (107,773), and Washington (101,593).

Edited by Braden Becker

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