Green Jobs In California Grow Despite Recession

January 20, 2011

windmills on green fieldGreen careers have been thriving in California, where clean-technology and alternative-energy companies have added thousands of jobs, a new study has found.

According to The Los Angeles Times, employers offering jobs in solar-power generation, electric-vehicle development and environmental consultation added 5,000 jobs in 2008. Overall, about 174,000 Californians were working in eco-friendly fields by 2009, compared to just 111,000 in 1995, the nonprofit research group Next 10, which conducted the study, reported.

Green jobs grew the most in the Bay Area, increasing by 8 percent in 2008. The region currently represents 28 percent of green jobs in the state and 26 percent of the companies offering the positions. San Diego witnessed a 7 percent surge in hiring as the local energy generation industry--primarily solar and wind companies--stepped up recruiting by 39 percent in 2008 compared to the year prior. Green hiring in the Los Angeles area, however, is down due to the lingering effects of the economic downturn on the construction industry, which has in turn hurt energy-efficiency retrofitting companies.

"It's unique in California that there are very few industries that employ people in every region of the state," F. Noel Perry, founder of Next 10, told The San Francisco Chronicle. "We have a tremendously diverse economy to begin with. This is just going to become part of our economic rubric."

Green jobs still only constitute a small fraction--0.9 percent--of all employment in California, Perry said. But since 1995, the number of green careers in the state has grown 56 percent, while total employment rose 18 percent.

"They're modest compared to the overall job numbers, but they're growing," Perry said. "This is a very, very solid foundation."

The report, called "Many Shades of Green: Regional Distribution and Trends in California's Green Economy," is the second annual study Next 10 has released, the San Jose Mercury News noted. The report's authors cite California's long history of forward-thinking public policy as the primary reason behind the state's burgeoning job growth in the green sector.

"We've had a renewable portfolio standard for utilities and energy efficiency requirements for buildings for years," said Perry, who started Next 10 in 2003. "The bar has been raised here in California, and entrepreneurs and innovators are trying to reach that bar."

Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff


"Green jobs continue to grow amid the economic downturn," mercurynews.com, January 18, 2011, Dana Hull

"Green jobs showed strong growth in California in 2008, data show," latimes.com, January 19, 2011, Tiffany Hsu

"Green jobs up 3% in 2008, Next 10 report finds," sfgate.com, January 19, 2011, David R. Baker

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