Need a job? Check out renewable energy
The renewable energy industry is adding jobs at twice the national rate.
The AP reports, "The fledgling renewable energy industry has grown steadily over
much of the past decade, adding jobs at more than twice the national
rate," a recent study from the Pew Charitable Trusts indicates, with "solar and wind-power companies, energy-efficient light
bulb makers, environmental engineering firms and others [expanding] their work
force by 9.1% from 1998 to 2007, the latest year available."
In contrast, "the
average job growth in all industries was 3.7% during the same period."
However, "the Pew study does not include employment data from the past 18
months, a volatile period for the energy industry" that has seen a number
of large companies lay off workers or go bankrupt. And even prior to that,
clean energy jobs have not necessarily "kept pace with overall job
losses." Still, officials say, "the report shows that the clean
energy sector has proven itself sustainable."
'clean-energy economy' grew 9.1% between 1998 and 2007 to 777,000 jobs. While
that is just half a% of all U.S. jobs, the clean-energy economy is poised to
grow significantly with financial support from the public and private
sectors," according to the study's authors. One Pew official said,
"The nation's clean-energy economy is poised for explosive growth."
She added, "The trends include surging venture capital investment...a
critical growth rate in clean-energy generation, energy efficiency, and
environmentally friendly products."
The Los Angeles Times reports, "The new jobs pay anywhere from $21,000 to $111,000 a year for
various positions including clerks, construction workers, skilled craftsmen,
and engineers. Fields that will need more workers include clean energy
production, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly manufacturing, and
conservation and pollution control." And, according to a separate UC
Berkeley study, "the expansion of the green jobs economy could continue to
pay dividends well into future ... Using more wind, solar, and other types of
renewable electricity could generate as many as 87,000 jobs in California by
2050, the study said."
Meanwhile, the UC Berkeley
researchers "found the renewable energy industry was more labor intensive
than traditional fossil-fuel businesses," the Wired Science blog noted. The Pew study "differs from government projections
or most industry association estimates in that it counts individual jobs, not
entire industries," leading to what its researchers call "the most
precise depiction to date" of green jobs. The researchers
"recommended a 'comprehensive, economy-wide energy plan' and implicitly
endorsed the President's stated desire to sign a climate and energy bill."
The Christian Science Monitor reports, "The highest number of green jobs is in California with 125,390 jobs. The lowest is
in Wyoming with
1,419. The Pew study found the national average for jobs for each state is