Skeptical politicians and pundits may deride green jobs as a patronage or call environmentalists ”green, green lima beans,” but the sector is producing considerable employment in the United States.
Today, the U.S. Labor Department announced the results of its first ever survey on green jobs in the United States. Green jobs accounted for 2.4 percent of total employment in 2010, or approximately 2.3 million jobs. The vast majority of those jobs were in the private sector.
The Labor Department categorizes green jobs as Green Goods and Services (GGS). “GGS jobs are found in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources,” it stated in a press release. It is a broad categorization that includes everything from nuclear power generation to hog and pig farming.
California led in volume of GGS jobs, and Vermont had the highest proportion among the states, followed by Washington DC. New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio were the runners up in total employment.
It is very serendipitous that these numbers were released while President Obama has been out pitching green energy amid attacks by GOP presidential hopefuls who are collectively rejecting renewables. Obama includes renewables in his “all of the above” energy policy that calls for expanded oil and gas drilling, and has been getting tougher on China for subsidizing its solar power industry.
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