EPI Study Finds Green Jobs Growing Faster Than Economy
A new Economic Policy Institute study finds that industries with higher proportions of green jobs have higher job growth than does the overall economy. In Counting Up to Green: Assessing the green economy and its implications for growth and equity, EPI Senior Policy Analyst Ethan Pollack examines data from jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. [Download Study PDF
Pollack’s primary findings included the following:
• Greener industries grow faster than the overall economy. For every percentage-point increase in an industry’s green intensity, annual employment growth was 0.034 percentage points higher. Future projections suggest continued job growth from green intensity.
• States with greater green intensity generally fared better in the economic downturn.
• Green jobs are accessible to workers without a college degree. For every 1 percentage-point increase in green intensity in a given industry, there was a corresponding 0.28 percentage-point increase in the share of jobs in that industry held by workers without a four-year college degree.
• Manufacturing plays a strong role in the green economy. The sector accounts for 20.4 percent of all green jobs despite representing only 10.8 percent of total private employment. Furthermore, the green industries within the manufacturing sector are projected to grow 25 percent faster than the overall sector.
Much of the current discussion about green jobs focuses on the renewable-energy industry and thus overlooks how pervasive green jobs are throughout the economy. In truth, the utility sector accounts for just three percent of total private green jobs, and even within that sector, the water and sewage industry accounts for over four times the number of green jobs as renewable energy. Occupations such as garbage collectors, sewage workers, construction workers, household-appliance manufacturers and bus drivers are as integral to the green economy as solar-panel installers or wind-turbine manufacturers.
“Transitioning to a greener and more sustainable economy is good for the environment, but it also helps promote stronger economic growth and opportunity,” said Pollack. “And the seeds of this transformation are planted throughout the economy, oftentimes in unexpected places.”
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