As any hiring manager can tell you, job growth has expanded exponentially over much of the US economy during the last few months; clean energy is no exception. Recent data from the non-partisan group Environmental Entrepreneurs demonstrates that clean energy jobs are not only growing with the rest of the economy, but are actually leading the way in many areas surveyed in the latest US Energy and Employment Report, or USEER. The following highlights from the USEER demonstrate the robust state of the clean job market.
To start, the table below provides a useful summary of the clean job market as a whole. Worker numbers, broken down into subcategories, are:
1. Energy efficiency: 2.25 million
2. Solar: 349,000
3. Clean Vehicle: 220,000
4. Wind: 107,000
5. Energy Storage: 91,000
The USEER showed that the energy sector, which includes generation, transmission, energy efficiency, and alternative fuels subcategories, added 162,000 jobs in 2017. Also, clean jobs in the energy efficiency subcategory led the way with 67,000 additional jobs. Locally, Ohio added 8,092 jobs in solar, 1,764 jobs in energy storage, and 483 jobs in smart grid related industries.
Somewhat alarmingly for clean job employers, the report indicates an increase in the skills gap to 83% in energy efficient construction. The skills gap is a measure indicating a shortage of skills desired by employers to those available from prospective employees. The gap indications are not all negative, however. It is likely that the gap indicates a stronger demand for energy efficient buildings and structures. In other words, demand for energy efficiency is strong.
While most of the report is positive, some subcategories saw a decline in the number of jobs in 2017. Solar jobs fell 6% and, despite an increase demand for alternative fuel vehicles of 25%, that sector saw a drop in employment as well. However, strong demand for clean energy is expected to continue throughout 2018. In the energy sector as a whole, the job growth rate is predicted to be 6.1%. Solar energy jobs are expected to grow 5%, and jobs in energy efficient construction and manufacturing are predicted to grow at 9%. While positive growth is expected as a whole, the wind energy sector may be affected by the recent import tariff on aluminum and steel.
If the previous statistics haven’t made it clear, the hottest clean job sector is energy efficiency. To put it in some context, the USEER stated that it would take every worker currently employed in energy efficiency one year to upgrade 10% of the available residential buildings in the US. Continued new construction, existing building renovation, and stricter energy code requirements will all contribute to the demand for more energy efficiency workers.
Job statistics can provide indications about a variety of economic aspects. For example, there is the raw data of the number of employees in a given job. Generally speaking, the number of employees in a job indicates the demand for the associated good or service. In the case of clean jobs, it is clear that there is a demand for energy efficiency. The prediction of an increase in the number of jobs is also positive. Economists believe that there will be an increase in renewable energy demand, as indicated by the 5% growth forecast.
Clean energy is important to consumers, and the USEER data supports that claim. Beyond its positive environmental impact, clean energy is economical, sustainable, and a smart business choice whether you are in the private or public domain. Energy efficiency can be especially beneficial for local governments, school systems, and other public domains where budgets are constrained. Learn more about energy efficiency and how it can help you.