The Bureau of Labor statistics (BLS) announced Wednesday that in 2011 the number of Americans employed in green jobs increased by 157,746. There were 3,401, 278 employees in companies that produce green goods and services (GGS). Results for 2012 are still being compiled.
In the private sector 2,515,200 persons were employed in GGS jobs. That amounted to 2.3% of all private sector jobs in 2011. The public sector had 886,080 GGS jobs or 4.1% of all government jobs.
California had the largest number of GGS jobs with 360,245. This accounted for 2.5% of all employment in the state. The District of Columbia had the highest proportion of GGS employment, at 5.1 %; Oregon had the second highest proportion, at 4.3%.
Private sector green jobs
The construction industry saw the largest percentage increase in GGS. A total of 9% of construction jobs were green jobs up from 7% in 2010. Much of this was due to installation of solar and wind systems as well as energy-efficiency retrofits to buildings and homes.
Manufacturing still had the most GGS jobs with a total of 507,168 employees. GGS jobs are found in businesses that primarily produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. These include iron and steel from recycled inputs, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment meeting selected standards, hybrid cars and parts, and pollution mitigation equipment. Manufacturing of solar panels and wind turbines are part of this sector.
The trade sector had 223,079 GGS jobs in 2011, accounting for 1.1% of the industry’s employment. This sector's increase of 17,512 GGS jobs, or 8.5% over the year, was the second largest significant change in the private sector. Industries within the trade sector that have GGS output include recyclable material merchant wholesalers and used merchandise stores.
Leisure and hospitality services had 23,696 GGS jobs in 2011. GGS employment in leisure and hospitality grew by 3,054, or 14.8 percent over the year. Nature parks and botanical gardens are examples of GGS services within leisure and hospitality services.
Utilities had 71,129 GGS jobs in 2011, or 12.9% of total private utilities employment. The private utilities sector added 2,098 GGS jobs in 2011, a 3.0 % increase. Among the industries involved in private sector electric power generation, nuclear electric power generation had the highest GGS employment, with 44,054 jobs in 2011.
Hydroelectric power generation had the second largest GGS employment, with 3,780 GGS jobs. Wind electric power generation was third with 2,724 GGS jobs, followed by biomass electric power generation (1,166), geothermal electric power generation (1,017), and solar electric power generation (522). Other electric power generation had 525 GGS jobs in 2011.
Public Sector green jobs
Over the year, government GGS employment decreased by 14,890 a decline of 1.7%. This decline is consistent with the overall decline of government jobs resulting from budget cuts. Over 700,000 government employees have been laid off since 2009.
Local government had 424,201 GGS jobs in 2011, the most in the public sector, representing 3.1% of local government employment. The transportation and warehousing sector had the largest GGS employment in local government with 209,063 jobs.
In 2011, state government had 248,539 GGS jobs, or 5.5% of state government employment. Public administration led GGS employment in state government with 164,952 GGS jobs. The enforcement of environmental regulations and the administration of environmental programs are examples of GGS services within public administration.
The federal government had 213,340 GGS jobs representing 7.5% of federal government employment in 2011. The public administration sector had 139,884 GGS jobs, the most within federal government. The professional, scientific, and technical services sector followed with 39,714 GGS jobs.
If we are going to compete in the global economy, it is important that we continue to add green jobs. These figures were from 2011 when stimulus spending was still impacting the green economy. It will be interesting to see the 2012 figures to see if green jobs decreased without stimulus spending. Hopefully, the stimulus money was seed money that led to private investment. These numbers will not be out for another year.