Green jobs growing even as economy wilts
Image: Indeed.comCross-posted from Climate Progress.
Last month’s bleak jobs report is a reminder of just how deep our economic troubles are: With only 18,000 jobs created and the unemployment rate creeping up to 9.2 percent, the hangover from 2008’s financial implosion is still with us. But a look at the increase in postings for clean energy and sustainability-related jobs anecdotally suggests that the “sustainability” sector is faring better than most, according to the Wall Street Journal:
In the past two years, the number of online job postings containing the keyword “sustainability” has more than quadrupled to 8,245 in May, according to Indeed.com, which aggregates online job postings. The number containing “wind” and “solar” more than doubled in the same time period.
Some of that growth might have come from the $800 billion economic stimulus package, about $100 billion of which was devoted to green-related projects, said Robert Pollin, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Much money was devoted to helping companies retrofit buildings to be energy efficient, and according to Mr. Pollin’s research, every $1 million devoted to that task created about 17 jobs for the life of the project, he said.
The government estimates that around 68,000 jobs have been created or saved through just the loan guarantee program, which has helped manufacturers and project developers build large facilities. And the advocacy organization Environment America says that 59,000 U.S. jobs were created through the grant program, which made project financing much easier after the financial collapse.
Tracking those jobs is difficult, however. Because many of the jobs are cross-sector, we can’t be exactly sure how many were created for what reasons. But it’s clear that tens of thousands of Americans are being employed in the clean energy field who might otherwise not have jobs. This rough analysis from the Wall Street Journal illustrates the increase in activity.
The Brookings Institution is coming out with a comprehensive report on the clean energy economy later this week. It’ll be interesting to see how their analysis matches up with these figures.