Over the past year, or maybe even years, the topic of going green and creating green jobs has been largely circulated throughout the country. Politicians and government officials rally support for bills, acts or laws under the promise of creating new jobs and a greener Earth. The country has become obsessed with going green and making sure we are preserving as much energy and taking care of our environment as best we can- as we should. After all, without environmental concerns it is likely we would leave our planet in shambles and leave ourselves out in the dust, literally.
With all of this green obsession, one would think that the number of green jobs present today would be staggering. However, a recent report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 2.4 percent of American workers, or 3.1 million people, were working in green jobs in 2010. The statistics may give or take a bit since then, but when you think about how much going green has become part of our laws, policies and just general ideology, you would think that there would be more people working in these jobs or more of these jobs created. Even more interesting is that the BLS report shows that the majority of the green jobs in our country come from the private sector. Specifically, 2.3 million of those working green jobs do so in the private sector.
Comparatively, the public sector held about 860,000 of those green jobs. If the government uses going green and green jobs to motivate some of their policies, shouldn’t there be more green jobs in the public sector? The largest sector of employment in the green jobs industry was actually in manufacturing with more than 450,000 green jobs present. Even more, the pay for green jobs is, on average, higher than jobs that are focused on a “clean economy.” Clean economy is another word being used to describe a green economy or an environmentally sound economy. According to the Brooking Institution, there were 2.7 million clean economy jobs in 2011. The Institution report showed that the average median wages for clean economy jobs are 13 percent higher than the average median wages for the average U.S. worker.
When looking at these facts, it should not be surprising to see that there are more green jobs in the states with higher income. More interesting though, is that green jobs are not associated with the amount of high-tech jobs in state. Overall, though, the Institution deduced that green jobs are slated to grow, but it is unlikely that it will provide a steady flow of lower-skill jobs. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the increase of green jobs will strengthen the “economies or job markets of more heavily industrialized states.”
What is your opinion on green jobs and the economy? Do you think this data suggests that the push for green jobs based on the fact that they will strengthen the economy is, in a way, pointless?