September 12, 2012
Those following the rhetoric between Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama might have the impression that the GOP does not prioritize green job creation, but a new state-level study reveals otherwise.
A report from DBL Investors entitled "Red, White and Green: The True Colors of America's Clean Tech Jobs" has found that green job creation is not a political issue at the state level like it is on the national one. Instead, study co-authors Nancy Pfund, DBL managing partner, and Michael Lazar, a Yale University graduate student, note that the clean tech industry is actually creating jobs in a number of states, particularly those headed by Republican governors.
Four of the top 10 states having the largest growth in green jobs from 2003 to 2010 -- Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming -- traditionally vote Republican while just two of these -- Hawaii and New York -- usually vote Democratic. This leaves four of the top 10 states -- Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, and New Mexico -- as swing states.
Additionally, it is the less populated "red" states -- those that traditionally vote Republican -- that lead in clean job production, according the the report. For example, Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming (all traditionally Republican) had the highest individual growth in green job production of all states during the 2003 to 2010 period: 97.7 percent, 57.5 percent and 53.4 percent, respectively. Together, the trio averaged 66 percent during this time, higher than the growth for the states in the top 9 and 10 positions: Nevada and New York, both at 48 percent.
The report also notes that while Romney has expressed a lack of support for green job initiatives, Republican governors like Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Rick Perry of Texas have actually championed such efforts in their own states.
"Outside of Washington D.C., there is no controversy about the impact of the clean tech economy and its ability to generate jobs," Pfund said in a press release. "Governors in red and blue states alike are working to attract and build clean tech businesses because they know the positive benefits these companies can bring for economic development and job growth."
Strong green job creation is not limited to states that traditionally vote Republican, however. Although five of the top 17 states with the fastest green job growth are red, five of the states within the top 17 are also blue. This leaves the final seven in the top 17 as swing states.
"All of these green jobs figures indicate that on a state and local level, green jobs are not such a politicized issue," said GigaOM's Katie Fehrenbacher, as reported by PayScale. "Jobs are jobs."
When it comes to winning the hearts and minds of potential voters, supporting green job creation may be the way to go, the authors imply.
"...[P]oliticians who play political football with clean tech increasingly do so at their own risk, while those that promote green job growth score big points with voters and workers alike," said Pfund in the press release.
Compiled by Aimee Hosler
"Green jobs are growing faster in red states," blogs.payscale.com, September 11, 2012, Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
"New report shows red states lead in green job growth," businesswire.com, September 10, 2012
"Red, White & Green: The True Colors of America's Clean Tech Jobs," dblinvestors.com, September 2012, Nancy Pfund and Michael Lazar