According to a new study by a California think tank, the “core green economy” — industries focusing on sustainable energy, clean transportation, green products, conservation, and recycling — weathered the U.S. recession better than the economy as a whole. In California, at least, the green economy lost only 3 percent of jobs between January 2009 and January 2010, versus a 7 percent loss for the state economy overall.

Outside of that lean year, the green economy also thrived, creating far more jobs over a 15-year period than the general economy:

Longer term, from 1995-2010, the study found that job growth in the wider economy grew 12% but jumped 53% in businesses devoted to clean energy, recycling, reusing materials, conserving natural resources and reducing pollution.

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The study comes from think tank Next 10, which is politically nonpartisan although clearly a big booster for green innovation.