Report on US job figures up to 2007 also says wind and solar sectors resisting recession better than traditional manufacturing
America's emerging clean energy economy produced new jobs at more than twice the rate of more traditional industries in the years leading up to the economic downturn, a new study released today claimed.
The report by the Pew Charitable Trusts provides the first hard evidence of jobs created by the rising demand for environmentally friendly services, and in the new clean energy sectors like wind and solar.
It said such jobs grew at a rate of 9.1% from 1998-2007, easily outstripping job growth in traditional areas of the economy, which was 3.7%.
The study stopped before the economic downturn, which has caused steep job losses in the traditional economy. Some 347,000 Americans were put out of work in May alone.
However, its authors also noted that the rapid growth came at a time when there was little or no federal government support for clean energy – unlike today when Barack Obama has committed to greening the economy.
They also said that wind farms, solar projects, and battery factories had fared better than traditional manufacturing as the job market has contracted.
"This is a sector poised for explosive growth," said Lori Grange, the interim deputy director of Pew. "Our report points to trends that show a very promising future for the green energy economy."
The report helps bolster Obama's claims that his $787 billion economic recovery plan could create millions of new jobs. The package contains about $85 billion in green investment, and the administration has repeatedly touted its efforts at creating new clean energy jobs.
The Pew report said the new jobs were created across 38 states, and not restricted to specific regions.
By 2007, more than 68,200 businesses accounted for about 770,000 green jobs. That is not hugely below the numbers of jobs in fossil-fuel industries, including oil and gas extraction and coal mining, which employed 1.27 million people in 2007, the report said.
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