Green Jobs Grew California’s Economy Most, Study Shows

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From 1995 to 2008, during a period of average total job growth of 13% in California, the green job sector jumped an astounding 36%!

(That is a spread of 23% better than the average growth at that time).

Green jobs were the only jobs growing faster than 13%. What that means is that the rest of the economy was doing much worse than 13% growth, in order for that to be the average, together with 23% growth in green jobs.

What’s more, both in good times and in bad, it was green jobs that were the driver of growth. Even as the recession started – when there was a slight drop in total jobs of 1% between 2007 and 2008 – green jobs still grew 5% in that time, or 6% better performance.

Whether it is 23% better in good times or 6% better than the average, that is an astounding difference, and it sends a clear message to anyone able to read data. When the economy picks up, it will clearly be the green job engine driving it. If the economy remains slow, the green energy sector is the only positive spark.

Among green jobs, most were in these four areas:
Energy generation
Energy efficiency
Water technologies
Environmental services
Most of the growth came in green transportation

In energy generation, solar provided 66% of the sector, growing 63%, but employment grew in every form of green energy in the state, from wind, and geothermal to ocean energy. Industrial production to support green energy grew, as well as the related consulting services needed.

Energy efficiency grew fastest in new tech green lighting products manufacturing start-ups and machinery to make them more efficient, gaining faster, relatively, than efficiency consulting jobs, while both expanded.

Among water technologies, developing cleanup technologies grew 68%, and conservation jobs grew 3.5 times. (Water is also an energy issue for California, because we use 20% of our energy just moving water around the state)

Environmental consulting brings 70% of the jobs in environmental services, and that has increased since 1995. Environmental safety and remediation jobs grew faster (now 10%) than jobs in pollution monitoring and controls.

But the biggest individual jump in all green jobs came in green transportation, which grew a startling 152%, and of that percentage; alternative fuel transport grew from a 40% share to a 48% share.

Taken all together, it is now green jobs that grow California’s economy, with 6% and 23% more growth than the economy as a whole. And California has the eighth largest economy in the world.

Look at these numbers and tell me how it is that California’s green energy legislation has been a “a job-killing agenda” that is bad for business in the state. The evidence simply does not back up such claims. Quite the opposite.

Full study: Next 10 (PDF)
Image: Oryzatech

SusanKraemer@Twitter


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