The Importance of Green Jobs for a Growing, Sustainable Economy

In a study released on October 10 by the Economic Policy Institute in the U.S., author Ethan Pollack compares the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Green Goods and Services Survey with other BLS employment trend data. The report begins with a discussion of the BLS definition and methodology regarding measurement of “green jobs”. It then provides data and analysis of the number of green jobs by state, by sector, and by private vs. public sector, pointing out that green jobs are found throughout the economy, and that despite the focus on jobs in renewable energy, that sector represents less than 3% of green jobs (compared to the manufacturing sector which accounts for 20.4 % of all green jobs). Among the conclusions: greener industries grew, and will continue to grow, faster than the overall economy for the next 10 years; green states have fared better in the economic downturn; and, green jobs are accessible to people with all levels of education. And from the concluding paragraph: ” In sum, a dirty economy subsidizes the well-off by taxing the poor and disenfranchised, distorts the market, and shortchanges future generations by leaving the world a worse place for them to live in. For these reasons alone, the case for transitioning to a greener and more sustainable economy is well justified. But the concept of green jobs does play an important role in illustrating a positive vision of a green economy. It reminds us that the seeds of a green transition are planted throughout the economy, that the fundamental structure of the economy will remain intact, and that this vision isn’t so radical but rather is already happening all around us.”


Counting up to green: Assessing the green economy and its implications for growth and equity
is available at:


Employment in Green Goods and Services (March 2012) is at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website at:; see also the BLS Green Jobs website at: .

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