This article was originally published by Alliance To Save Energy and is republished with permission.
In 2018, energy efficiency jobs showed the highest rate of growth across the energy sector, adding 76,000 new positions. In fact, roughly half of all new energy jobs are in energy efficiency, which was again among the largest employers in the energy sector.
Those are among the findings of the latest installment of the U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER), released at the National Press Club in D.C. last week. The report, published jointly by the Energy Futures Initiative and the National Association of State Energy Officials, projected strong continued growth in the sector throughout 2019.
The report provides a snapshot of employment in key sectors of the traditional energy and energy efficiency sectors, which employ approximately 6.7 million Americans, or 4.6 percent of the total workforce. The energy efficiency sector, as defined by the report, includes those who design, install, and manufacture energy efficiency products and services.
Energy efficiency is among the largest employers across all energy sectors, with an estimated 2,324,866 Americans employed in 2018. Additional highlights from the report include:
- Energy efficiency employment rose 3.4 percent over 2017 and accounts for more than one third of all jobs in traditional energy and energy efficiency sectors.
- The efficiency sector is projected to grow by 7.8 percent, or 180,000 jobs, in 2019. This is the highest projected growth rate across the energy economy.
- A majority of efficiency jobs, almost 1.3 million, are in construction, which is also projected to have the highest growth rate at 8.8 percent, although it also reports having the most hiring difficulty due to what employers say is a shortfall of workers with the necessary experience, training, and technical skills.
- Professional services in energy efficiency added 35,000 jobs, a 7.7 percent increase over 2017.
- Manufacturing jobs producing ENERGY STAR-certified products and energy-efficient building materials increased by 2 percent to a total of 321,582 jobs.
- Energy efficiency jobs outnumber electric power generation jobs in 48 states. In 15 states, efficiency jobs exceed fuel, energy power generation, transmission, distribution, and storage jobs combined.
Source: 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report
Alliance President Jason Hartke, speaking on a panel at the report launch, said that these numbers indicate great success, and “we should be doing more to accelerate efficiency and clean energy. Policies matter to make that happen. In energy efficiency for example, we haven’t had tax incentives for 14 months now.” Policies that incentivize the purchase of high-efficiency products like ENERGY STAR-certified appliances could create additional job growth in the manufacturing sector, as well as energy and cost savings for consumers.
Leo Gerard, International President of United Steelworkers, is quoted in the report saying, “The cheapest way to get carbon out of the atmosphere and create jobs is through energy efficiency…. If we retrofitted every public school in America, if we retrofitted every government building, and then if we started on all our commercial buildings, we’d create millions of construction jobs.” Job growth across the construction sector shows that these energy-saving retrofits are happening on a large scale.
Job growth across the energy sector continues to outperform the economy as a whole, and the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report shows there is demand for more, especially when it comes to energy efficiency.