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US Green Economy Grows Despite Impacts From Global Recession

Installing solar panels

For those not convinced about the economic potential of the green economy, check out the latest report by the Brookings Institution. In a report entitled, “Sizing the Clean Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment,” Brookings reveals how the green technology and renewable power sector is employing more workers than counterparts in the fossil fuel industry.

In a time where recent government austerity measures have been implemented and thousands of employees have lost their jobs to the global recession, green businesses have added 565,337 net new jobs to the American economy between 2003 and 2010. Due to the intensive manufacturing and export focus of the green economy, fully 26% of these jobs have been in manufacturing establishments.

A review of green jobs in urban areas reveals that almost all of the green sector jobs pay more than the median wage. Also, businesses in the green economy export about double the value of a typical American job ($20,000 vs. $10,000).

Furthermore, green jobs have been pivotal in revitalizing old and declining urban areas across the country. Among the top ten jurisdictions for clean jobs stemming from green initiatives are Toledo, Albany, Harrisburg, and Springfield, MA. In Albany, nearly 1 in 15 jobs are linked to the clean economy, due in part to being home base for General Electric. Los Angeles was in second place for green jobs, with almost 90,000 clean energy jobs in total.

The report further makes some recommendation to help solidify the green economy’s growth well into the future. They suggest putting a price on carbon, releasing a clean energy standard, and using the government as a strong purchaser of cleantech goods. Therefore, states that adopt strong environmental initiatives and a price on carbon (such as California) could be giving themselves a competitive advantage in the future economy.

Are there any other measures that could be implemented at the state level to further drive growth in the green sector?

Image CC licensed by stantontcady: Installing solar panels

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