The Clean Energy Economy

Jun 10, 2009

Research by The Pew Charitable Trusts shows that despite a lack of sustained policy attention and investment, the emerging clean energy economy has grown considerably—extending to all 50 states, engaging a wide variety of workers and generating new industries. Between 1998 and 2007, its jobs grew at a faster rate than overall jobs. Like all other sectors, the clean energy economy has been hit by the recession, but investments in clean technology have fared far better in the past year than venture capital overall. Looking forward, the clean energy economy has tremendous potential for growth, as investments continue to flow from both the government and private sector and federal and state policy makers increasingly push for reforms that will both spur economic renewal and sustain the environment.

By 2007, more than 68,200 businesses across all 50 states and the District of Columbia accounted for about 770,000 jobs that achieve the double bottom line of economic growth and environmental sustainability.

In today’s tough financial climate, when millions of jobs have been lost, those numbers may sound modest. Three quarters of a million jobs represent half a percent of all jobs in the United States today. But Pew’s research shows that between 1998 and 2007, clean energy economy jobs—a mix of whiteand blue-collar positions, from scientists and engineers to electricians, machinists and teachers—grew by 9.1 percent, while total jobs grew by only 3.7 percent. And although we expect job growth in the clean energy economy to have declined in 2008, experts predict the drop in this sector will be less severe than the drop in U.S. jobs overall.

A link to the full report is below. You may also view the press release, which includes state fact sheets and related resources—Pew Finds Clean Energy Economy Generates Significant Job Growth.

Track your state’s share of the clean energy economy using Trends to Watch. The Clean Energy Economy trend presents data on clean energy jobs, businesses, patents and venture capital using interactive maps, ranked bar graphs and trends over time.

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