One Look at the Growth of Green Jobs and Green Businesses

The state of California is in the process of creating a uniform definition of what constitutes the “green economy” or a “green job,” phrases routinely used by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

One of the sources the state is using is Many Shades of Green, a December 2009 report by Next 10, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit, which shows a 45 percent increase in the number of green businesses from 1995 through 2008 – from 9,000 to roughly 13,000. Employment grew from 120,000 employees in 1995 to 160,000 in 2008 – just under 1 percent of the state’s workforce.

“California’s green businesses are diverse, located across the state and offer a very broad array of occupational opportunities,” wrote F. Noel Perry, Next 10’s founder, in the report’s preface.

Quoting from the report, green businesses provide products or services that:

“Provide alternatives to carbon-based energy sources

“Conserve the use of energy and all natural resources

“Reduce pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions and repurpose waste.”

The report breaks down what it calls the “Core Green Economy” into 15 segments: energy generation; energy efficiency, transportation; energy storage; air and environmental; recycling and waste; water and wastewater; agriculture; research and advocacy; business services; finance and investment; advanced materials; green building; manufacturing and industrial and energy infrastructure.

If only by sheer size, Los Angeles is the statewide leader in energy storage and recycling and waste, the report found.

Jobs in green energy generation grew by 61 percent over the period covered by the Next 10 study. Solar energy makes up the bulk of this segment and grew by 63 percent.

From 1995 to 2008, energy generation jobs on the Central Coast grew by 200 percent and 178 percent in Orange County, for example.

“Jobs in the green economy offer opportunities across the spectrum of skills levels and earnings potential,” the study says. “For the most part, jobs in the core green economy represent occupations that already exist but are in new demand such as electricians or are seeing an expansion of skills and tasks such as operations and building managers.

“Also, entirely new occupations are emerging such as fuel cell technicians and energy auditors.”


Filed under: Budget and Economy

1 Comment »

  1. These Next 10 green job numbers are actually quite modest compared to those Governor Schwarzenegger has been putting out. You might take a look at the discrepancy. But regardless of which numbers you use and hype that might suggest otherwise, the \"green economy\" will provide jobs for only a small number of California\’s 2.3 million unemployed workers.

    As Senator Bob Dutton recently observed, “From 1995 to 2008, California added only 42,000 new green jobs. At that rate of growth, it would take 89 years for green jobs to replace all of the other jobs California has lost in the current economic downturn.”

    Compare this modest growth of green jobs to losses in California manufacturing sector (600,000 jobs) since 2000. We ignore the \"non-green economy\" at our peril.

    Comment by David — 5.11.2010 @ 8:39 am

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