By: Lane Kelman and Lori Wisniewski Azzara
In its first-ever survey of green goods and service jobs, the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported that “green” jobs accounted for 2.4% of the nation’s total employment in 2010. According to the report, the U.S. had 3.1 million green jobs in 2010, with 2.3 million being in the private sector and 860,300 in the public sector.
Due to the lack of an agreed upon definition of what constitutes a “green” job, past measurement of employment in this field was difficult. In this most recent report, however, the BLS developed a two-part definition of green jobs. The first component counts “output-based” jobs that produce goods and services benefiting the environment or conserving natural resources. Such jobs include the manufacture of hybrid vehicles, the production of solar power and construction projects such as weatherization. The second part of the definition covers “process-based” jobs where workers make a company more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources. Such jobs include grocery stores or restaurants that primarily sell organic food or a recycling plant, even if the plant itself is not green.
The BLS’s report includes only jobs under the first part of the definition; a second report that will include process-based green jobs will be released later this year. It is anticipated that the percentage of green jobs will increase even more after both parts of the definition are considered.
In the private sector, manufacturing accounted for the greatest number of green jobs with 461,847, which is 4% of all manufacturing employment. Construction was second, with about 372,077 green jobs, which accounts for 6.8% of construction employment.
On a state level, Vermont had the highest proportion of green employment at 4.4%, while Florida had the lowest at 1.3%. California had the largest number of green jobs, with 338,445 workers. Pennsylvania was fourth with 182,193 green jobs, which represents 3.3% of the state’s total employment. Maryland had 87,408 green jobs, and New Jersey reported 76,025.
Lane Kelman is a Partner at Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC. He represents developers, general contractors, construction managers and the different trades in complex matters ranging from bid protests, contract negotiations and claim prevention & management.
Lori Wisniewski Azzara is an Associate at Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC. Ms. Azzara practices in the areas of construction and commercial litigation and has experience in contract negotiation, claims for delay and inefficiency, mechanics’ liens, and all types of contractual disputes.