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April 03, 2012
Green Jobs Topped Three Million in 2010
    by Robert Kropp

In its first-ever tally of green jobs, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics counts 3.1 million jobs in businesses that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.

For the first time, the Green Goods and Services (GGS) program of the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics has counted the number of green jobs in the US economy, and found that the number exceeded three million in 2010.

In its survey of approximately 120,000 business and government establishments within 333 industries, the Bureau identified 2.3 million green jobs in the private sector, and 860,300 in the public sector.

According to the Bureau, green goods and services consist of the following groups: production of energy from renewable sources; energy efficiency; pollution reduction and removal, greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, and recycling and reuse; natural resources conservation; and environmental compliance, education and training, and public awareness.

With almost 462,000 green jobs, manufacturing had the greatest number of green jobs in the private sector, followed by construction; professional, scientific, and technical services; and waste services. The number of green manufacturing jobs accounted for almost five percent of that industry's total employment.

More than half of the green public sector jobs were in local government.

Regionally, California had the greatest number of green jobs, with 338,400, followed by New York and Texas. With 4.4% of its jobs in green goods and services, Vermont had a higher percentage of green jobs than any other state.

The Bureau began receiving funding for its Green Jobs Initiative in 2010. The information it collects, the Bureau states, "will be useful for evaluating policy initiatives and the labor market impact of economic activity related to protecting the environment and conserving natural resources."

The Bureau's definition of green jobs has two components. The output-based approach, the results of which were published on March 22, includes jobs that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. Numbers for the process-based approach, which includes jobs that make production processes more environmentally friendly, will be published later this year.


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