A report released this week by E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) highlights the tremendous impact of the pandemic on clean jobs. According to Clean Jobs America 2021, for the first time since the organization began tracking clean jobs, employment fell across the sector in 2020. The pandemic, the resulting economic fallout, and the lingering impacts of policies of the previous administration all contributed to a decline of 11 percent in the total number of clean jobs, the report notes.
All totaled, some 3.3 million Americans held clean energy jobs at the end of 2020, down from 3.35 million in 2019, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics Data and a national survey of more than 30,000 businesses across the U.S. economy.
Other findings from the report include:
Jobs in energy efficiency, the most significant part of the U.S. energy sector, took the biggest tumble, falling more than 11 percent last year as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions prevented energy efficiency workers from entering commercial and residential buildings.
Wind energy employment increased slightly. However, solar employment fell, driven by declines in residential solar sales and installation which were hit hard early in the pandemic and could not fully recover despite growth in the second part of the year. Overall, renewable energy jobs fell by nearly 6 percent.
Jobs in grid modernization and battery and storage occupations dropped nearly 7 percent after two years of rapid growth driven by growing demand in batteries for electric vehicles and commercial and residential energy storage.
Clean vehicle manufacturing jobs defied overall energy sector job loss patterns and grew nearly 3 percent as automakers increasingly shifted to cleaner and more efficient electric cars, trucks, and buses. Electric and hybrid electric vehicle employment grew more than six percent, adding over 12,000 new jobs in 2020, the largest increase of any clean energy category.
States with the highest number of clean energy jobs include California, Texas, New York, and Florida. However, smaller states such as Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Ohio all employ more than 100,000 clean energy workers.
Despite the reported decline in employment, clean energy is still a significant job creator in America, with a range of professions that pay about 25 percent higher wages than the median national average.
To access the full report, click here.