A national and Regional Green Jobs Assessment, by Brookings, US

Posted in August 2020

This is a 2011 study, but very in depth. It will be interesting to see what has since happened during that time, up until the Corvid pandemic, and what will happen to the grren jobs sector post Corvid.

The Report concluded...

In many respects, the analysis warrants optimism.As the nation continues to search for new sources of high-quality growth, the present findings depict a sizable and diverse array of industry segments-in key private-sector areas-expanding rapidly at a time of sluggish national growth.

Already the aggregate clean economy employs more people than the fossil fuels and biotech industries. More importantly, a dozen or so hot segments-mostly dynamic renewable energy categories like wind energy, solar photovoltaic, and smart grid-doubled and tripled in size in the last decade, answering the hype that has surrounded them despite extremely difficult recent market and finance conditions.What is more, the analysis suggests that the clean economy is producing jobs relevant to the nation need to renew its economic base. Clean economy jobs are inordinately oriented toward manufacturing and exporting. Likewise, the segments of the clean economy encompass a balanced array of jobs and occupations, with substantially more opportunities and better pay for lower-skilled workers along with other positions in higher-end 'innovation' fields. Having more clean economy jobs as the sector's younger, more innovative segments advance in technology, deployment, and market-penetration would be good for the nation.

Yet, the information here also underscores several challenges. For one thing, the data counsel against excessive hopes for large-scale, near-term job-creation from the sector. After all, the U.S. clean economy remains small where it is fast-growing and relatively slow growing on balance, as defined here.

That means that while key clean economy growth segments appear of critical importance to America's future, their status as major employers remains a few years off.

Beyond that, what is more concerning about the future outlook is that the growth of the clean economy has almost certainly been depressed in recent years by significant policy problems and uncertainties.America, its industries, and its regions are in many places making solid progress on clean economy development, especially at the earlystages of the technology commercialization pathway, where new ideas, business plans, and firms come into being. However, much evidence suggests that the scale up of these ideas has not been maximized, due in part to policies that have left domestic demand weaker than it might be, financing harder to obtain, and the innovation pipeline unsecured for the future, even as too little attention is paid to the regional underpinnings of growth.

In that sense, what is most challenging here is the fundamental question raised by the dynamic growth but modest size of the most vibrant and promising segments of the clean economy. That question is: Will the nation marshal the will to make the most of those industries?In the end, it is a question raised frequently by these pages.


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