The economy is in the middle of a shaky recovery, that is a well-known fact, but how is the green economy faring? A new report from the Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution examines the state of the clean economy in our nation.

Sizing The Clean Economy: A National and Regional Jobs Assessment (PDF) includes the state of the green economy in several of the nation’s metropolitan areas as well as ideas on how the clean economy can be advanced, despite all of the challenges the nation faces today.

According to the report, a clean economy is defined as “economic activity-measured in terms of establishments and the jobs associated with them – that produces goods and services with an environmental benefit or adds value to such products using skills or technologies that are uniquely applied to those products.”

Now that you know the definition of a clean economy used by the report authors, now on to the high and low lights.

  • Clean economy growth between 2003 and 2010 was 3.4 percent annually, slower than the 4.2 percent annual growth seen in the overall economy.
  • Approximately 26 percent of clean economy jobs are in the manufacturing sector.
  • Clean economy jobs for low- and middle-skilled workers come with better pay than traditional jobs for the same set of workers.
As part of the report, clean economy profiles were compiled for 100 of the nation’s metropolitan areas. As I usually do with reports like this, I started off with my local metro area – Phoenix, Arizona.
  • 71.1 percent of clean economy jobs in Phoenix are green collar jobs, higher than the 67.7 percent average among the 100 metro areas
  • There are 22,904 clean jobs in the region, which is only 1.3 percent of all jobs in the area
  • The median annual wage for a clean economy job in Phoenix is $38,980, higher than the $36,679 median annual wage for all jobs in the city
  • The majority of clean economy jobs in the Phoenix metro area are in the Waste Management and Treatment sector
Next on my list was San Francisco, which was recently named the greenest city in the nation.
  • 54.7 percent of clean economy jobs in the San Francisco metro area are green collar jobs
  • There are 51,811 clean economy jobs in the area, which is 2.7 percent of all jobs
  • The median annual wage for a clean economy job in San Francisco is $59,856, higher than the $55,431 median annual wage for all jobs in the region
  • Most of the clean economy jobs in the region are in the Professional Energy Services sector
To learn more about the report findings, visit the Sizing the Clean Economy website.

Photo: vaxomatic/Flickr