The report, released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and utilizing 2012 data on green jobs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reveals that “greener industries grow faster than the overall economy.”
The BLS data, which concluded that 3.1 million jobs in the United States “were associated with the production of green goods and services” in 2010, defines green jobs as those which “benefit the environment or conserve natural resources” in either their process or output. Thus their figures include jobs in renewable energy, efficiency, pollution reduction and other traditionally “green” industries, along with jobs in any industry “in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or ensuring that they use fewer natural resources,” according to EPI.
The EPI report suggests that those states which have a higher share of employment in green jobs, like California, New York and Texas, have “generally fared better in the current economic downturn.”
EPI’s Senior Policy Analyst Ethan Pollack attributes this to greater employment growth in industries with more green jobs. He explains their statistical analysis found that a one percent increase in a particular industry’s “green intensity,” or share of employment in green jobs, corresponded with a 0.034 increase in annual employment growth in the last decade.
The EPI report also emphasizes that green jobs are still accessible to workers that don’t hold a college degree. The report notes that a one percent increase in green intensity in a given industry corresponded with a 0.28 percent “increase in the share of jobs in that industry held by workers without a four-year college degree.”
Van Jones, an Author and Former Special Advisor for green jobs to the Obama administration, has said, “Everything good for the environment is a job. People could be put back to work by building a green economy with solar panels, wind turbines and retrofitting homes as a start.”