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Job Opportunities for the Green Economy


By Robert Pollin and Jeannette Wicks-Lim
Political and Economic Research Institute
June 3, 2008


A wind turbine blade is unveiled during the opening of
the Vestas blade factory in Windsor, CO in March. The world's largest
wind-turbine maker officially opened its first U.S. manufacturing plant on
Colorado's northern plains, where it expects to produce blades for 600 turbines
a year and create thousands of jobs.

This new report, sponsored in part by the Center for American Progress in
advance of a major clean energy jobs study to be released by CAP and PERI later
this summer, provides a snapshot of what kinds of jobs are needed to build a
green economy in the United States. We focus on six key strategies for attacking
global warming and highlight some of the major "green jobs" associated with each
of these approaches.

The six green strategies we examine here are: building retrofitting, mass
transit, energy-efficient automobiles, wind power, solar power, and cellulosic
biomass fuels. We show that the vast majority of jobs associated with these six
green strategies are in the same areas of employment that people already work in
today, in every region and state of the country. For example, constructing wind
farms creates jobs for sheet metal workers, machinists and truck drivers, among
many others. Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings through retrofitting
relies, among others, on roofers, insulators, and building inspectors. What
makes these entirely familiar occupations "green jobs" is that the people
working in them are contributing their everyday labors toward building a green
economy. We therefore consider and refer to the strategies examined in this
report as green investments, in addition to global warming solutions.

We present data on employment conditions in 12 separate states: Florida,
Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania,
Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. For each of the 12 states, we report the
number of people who are employed in each of the occupations that will be
affected by our six green economy strategies, and what the average wages are in
each state for each of these job types. We then also provide data on the
national employ-ment picture for each of the job categories we examine.
What is clear from this report is that millions of U.S. workers—across a wide
range of familiar occupations, states, and income and skill levels—will all
benefit from the project of defeating global warming and transforming the United
States into a green economy.

 

Promoting Green Building Design, Construction and Operation, Sustainable Living,
Clean Technology, Renewable Energy Resources and Energy Independence