New figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that between 2010 and 2011, the growth of jobs in green goods and services (GGS) surged, and even outstripped growth in all other industries in the studied period.
The Los Angeles Times reported that this growth was four times larger than all the other industries combined, including the healthcare industry. This boom came as 3.4 million people found jobs in the renewables sector in 2011, making up 2.6 percent of all new jobs added that year.
The news source did point out that GGS jobs are found in several sectors, which could be one reason for the large rise between 2010 and 2011. The BLS considers a career "green" if it has any influence over the production of green goods or services that are offered. Positions include high-tech jobs found in the renewable energy field, those that develop and manufacture green products, engineers who work to create pollution reduction technologies and experts in natural resource conservation.
Michigan is one strong example of this growth in green jobs, a trend that has emerged after a slight dip in green job creation, according to the Holland Sentinel. A new report from Environmental Entrepreneurs shows the state was one of the fastest-growing in the country for green jobs, which was attributed to several factors.
"Michigan has the manufacturing infrastructure, skilled workers and quality of life that will enable us to attract our share of this growing field," McDiarmid said. "We need to pursue policies that encourage growth in renewable energy, efficiency, pollution abatement and wise resource management – businesses that are the backbone of this sector."
Adding jobs everywhere
The BLS report found that GGS jobs made up 2.3 percent of all private sector jobs. The construction industry saw the largest pickup in GGS employment, with the percentage of green jobs making up the sector rising from 7 to 8.9 percent. The manufacturing industry had the biggest overall share of green jobs, with 507,168 in 2011.
California reported the largest rise in GGS jobs that year, with 360,245 added, making up 2.5 percent of all new jobs in the state. The biggest share of green jobs was in Washington, D.C., where 5.1 percent of all jobs were in green positions. Oregon came in second with 4.3 percent.
Taking a broader look at employment, 56.5 percent of all GGS jobs were among businesses that solely produced green goods and services, at 1.9 million. Those that offered both green and traditional products and services had slightly less of a share with 1.5 million green jobs.
The final report
However, this snapshot, which many economists say provides a strong benchmark in how the country is doing when it comes to creating green jobs, was the last of its kind, the reported concluded. According to Bloomberg, the BLS stated that sequestration budget cuts had prompted the agency to discontinue the report after only two years.
"In order to help achieve these savings and protect core programs, the BLS will eliminate two programs and all 'measuring green jobs' products," the agency said in a note with the latest release.
"It's a huge loss," said Bracken Hendricks, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. "This means the U.S. will be flying blind on the growth of a very, very important sector in the U.S. economy."