"Clean Economy" Jobs Exceed Fossil Fuels Or Bioscience Sectors

August 3, 2011

There has been an extensive national and local push for so-called "green jobs," but the definition of such jobs has been murky, and there has been little substantive data that could be used to determine whether the effort was successful or meaningful.

To help address these shortcomings, the Brooking Institution and Battelle's Technology Partnership Practice released on July 13, 2011, a report that offers a definition, and provides data at the city, state, and national level, which may help you tailor the green jobs story for your audience area.

The authors say there are about 2.7 million direct "clean economy" jobs nationwide, a tally which exceeds the total in either the fossil fuel or bioscience sectors. Among the jobs counted in the clean economy are those in industries such as wastewater, mass transit, solar photovoltaic, wind, fuel cells, smart grid, biofuels, batteries, green chemical products, and lighting. The work tends to be well-paying, and doesn't typically require extensive advanced education.

The authors say both the private and government sectors have an important role to play in continuing to expand the clean economy, especially in the context of global competition, where the US is lagging.

The report is supplemented by maps of where the jobs are, by city and state, and by categories such as agriculture and natural resources, education and compliance, energy and resource efficiency, and greenhouse gas reduction/environmental management/recycling.