Green Jobs to the Rescue: Renewable Energy Industry Fueling Job Growth
The clean energy movement is one in which a number of traditional companies refuse to acknowledge. However, recent reports issued by the National Solar Jobs Census 2012 and the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics make it difficult for anyone to deny that the clean energy industry is alive and well. What's more is that clean energy jobs are fueling job growth and helping to jump start the economy
Board of Labor and Statistics Data
Though the overall national unemployment rate has not decreased as much as the government might have hoped, and May's job creation numbers were much lower than anyone expected, there is no doubt that the renewable energy industry is doing better than any other combined.
In fact, the numbers of careers in green tech are helping keep the economy and overall job growth alive. In fact, according to a press release issued in March 2013 by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Green Goods and Services jobsoverall have increased five times faster than jobs in any other industry, having increased to 3,401,279 total jobs, up from 157,746 total jobs in 2011.
In all, green jobs accounted for just over two percent of all private sector jobs, and a little over four percent of public sector jobs in the same year. A third of these jobs have helped sustain construction workers and those working in manufacturing. The USBLS found that the highest increase among all job sectors, above all others, was seen in industries that revolve around products and services that are themselves are green or otherwise environmentally friendly and have a hand in conserving natural resources.
However, that trend is changing, and has been for a few years now, new reports are showing. In fact, even though green jobs have bolstered every sector overall, the renewable energy industry and, more specifically, the solar energy industry, have seen even more substantial job growth, and for a much longer period overall.
Real World Renewable Energy Example
One example of the changing trend is that of an old Sarasota landfill. Turned into the very first solar array ever constructed on the west coast, the project, headed up by Florida Power & Lighting Inc. (NYSE: FPL), focused on the switch to green energy.
As relayed by Jeff Bartel, the VP of corporate compliance, “We sought a location that had a ground site large enough for 250 kilowatts of photovoltaic panels."
Bartel's involvement in the project, and his involvement in a number of similar projects, led to his receiving the Leadership Florida’s Distinguished Member award, and helped catapult FPL and its parent company NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) to the top of a Fortune World's Most Admired Companies and as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere. The project eventually consisted of installing 1,200 panels to the more than 25,000 plus square feet of landfill area led the way to creating the very first west coast solar array on the west coast as part of the Sunshine Energy program.
Clean Energy Jobs Increase Despite Conflicting Reports
In September of 2011, the Department of Labor and Statistics released a Performance and Audit report that seemed to detail how the greening of jobs as part of the Recovery Act was not working as well as the Obama Administration, or the earlier report from the same board had hoped.
Despite the grim outlook, the National Solar Jobs Census of 2012 reported that the solar industry saw a jobs increase of about 14,000 jobs to 119,000 jobs. This number, up from 105,000 jobs, was a 13.2 percent jump in the number of jobs created and filled over a 12-month period overall in the solar industry.
Essentially, according to the same report, these numbers mean that the solar energy industry has created 1 out of every 230 jobs nationwide, and from November 2012 until November 2013, the next year, the industry is expected to expand by at least 17.2 percent, with solar installers making up the bulk of the positions. Moreover, the report also shows that the jobs reported as “created jobs” were new jobs, and not just existing jobholders taking on more responsibilities. The better news is that almost half of all firms specializing in solar energy plan to hire new workers - a win for renewable energy and green job creation overall.
The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.