The number of jobs in the nation's emerging clean energy sector grew nearly two and a half times faster than overall jobs between 1998 and 2007, a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts finds.
Based on the first-ever state-by-state hand count of the actual jobs, companies, and venture capital investments that address the growing demand for environmentally friendly products and services, the report, The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses, and Investments Across America (62 pages, PDF), found that jobs in the clean energy sector grew at a national rate of 9.1 percent between 1998 and 2007, while jobs in more traditional sectors grew by 3.7 percent during the same period. Mirroring national trends, clean energy sector job growth outperformed overall job growth in thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia.
Despite a lack of sustained government support for clean energy jobs over the past decade, by 2007 there were more than 68,000 clean energy businesses accounting for about 770,000 jobs. By comparison, the fossil-fuel sector — including utilities, coal mining, and oil and gas extraction, which have received significant government investment — comprised about 1.27 million workers.
"The clean energy economy is poised for explosive growth," said Lori Grange, interim deputy director of the Pew Center on the States, which prepared the report in partnership with the Pew Environment Group. "These jobs are driving economic growth and environmental sustainability at a time when America needs both. There is a potential competitive advantage for federal and state policy leaders who act now to spur jobs, businesses, and investments in the clean energy sector."