According to data published by the Pew Charitable Trusts earlier today, the clean energy industry experienced a 9.1% job growth between 1998 and 2007. This figure is more than double the 3.7% increase posted in all industries during the same time period. Although this growth is fantastic, it doesn’t take into account the figures for 2008 and the first part of 2009 when unemployment rates climbed to double-digit numbers in many states across the U.S.
Although renewable energy jobs grew, so did non-renewable energy jobs. “The entire energy sector has experienced growth in recent years as well, according to the Bureau of Labor. Bureau data shows coal mining jobs jumped 16 percent from 2003 to 2009. Oil and gas extraction jobs jumped 28 percent. “ Source: MSNBC
The Pew study used five categories to define the jobs that would fall under the clean energy economy designation: clean energy, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly production, conservation and pollution mitigation, and training and support.
The report breaks down the businesses, jobs, venture capital funds, and patents issued on a state-by-state basis. As would be expected, California is the strongest performing of the states with 125,390 clean energy jobs spread across 10,209 businesses in 2007. Between 1999 and 2008, 1,401 clean energy-related patents were issued in California, alone. Overall, the country had 68,200 businesses providing approximately 770,000 renewable energy jobs in 2007.
Although the report does not include jobs in the clean energy sector in 2008, and unemployment rates were up during this time period, it is likely that the trend will continue in the coming years. As the Obama Administration came into the White House, their commitment to renewable energy was apparent and the Recovery Act has ensured that many clean energy jobs and projects will be funded.