Top 10 Green Job Trends You'll Find Surprising

Top 10 Green Job Trends You'll Find Surprising

If you are looking for a green job in today’s economy, there’s encouraging news. According to a recent report from the Brookings Institute and Battelle, job seekers looking for green jobs will not only find many opportunities, but higher pay as well.

The study reports that job growth rates in the clean economy are trending higher than the national average, and most eco-friendly jobs are non-specialist, “green collar” positions that pay higher than the national median wage.

Green jobs exist in all major U.S. metro areas and show surprising strength in regions like the South. Numerous opportunities are out there and here are ten reasons why:

 1. Green jobs are an established part of the United States economy.

At present, roughly 2.7 million people are employed in green jobs across all 50 states in the Union. Not only are eco-friendly jobs here to stay, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that…

 2. Growth in the clean economy has outpaced overall U.S. growth.

From 2008 to 2009, at the outset of the Great Recession, the entire clean economy, running the gamut of manufacturing, government, renewable energy and high tech jobs, grew 8.9%. Moreover, growth in green jobs from 1998 to 2007 was 9.1%, compared to regular job growth of 3.1% over the same period.

3. The clean economy benefits American workers and American companies.

Every one million dollars spent on earth-friendly enterprises creates 16.7 green jobs, compared to 5.3 fossil fuel jobs created per $1 million spent. Energy efficiency retrofits are a boon to U.S. manufacturing and small businesses. 90% of the products used in retrofits are made in the USA. Smaller firms, with 20 employees or less, constitute 90% of the companies contracted for retrofit projects. Another benefit to the U.S. economy is exports: on a per worker basis, firms in the clean economy export $20,000, twice as much as the $10,000 in exports per worker in the overall U.S. economy. Clean economy segments high in exports include electric vehicles, biofuels / biomass, and green chemicals.

4. A substantial number of green jobs are in manufacturing.

Compared to the 9% of U.S. jobs in manufacturing, a full 26% of clean economy jobs are in the production of goods. Green, eco-friendly industries include electric vehicles, green chemical products, lighting, and solar and wind energy technology.

5. Most jobs in the clean economy are ‘green collar’ and pay more than the national median wage.

The annual median wage for a green economy job is $44,000, 13.9% higher than the national median, $38,616. 68.7% of the jobs in the clean economy are ‘green collar,’ defined by an annual income that is within 20 percentage points of the national median wage. On the other hand, scientists and engineers are 10.1% of the green work force, and low wage / low skill jobs account for 6.3%.

6. The highest job growth rates in the clean economy are in renewable energy.

Four of the top five green job growth segments from 2003 to 2010, including the top three, are in renewable energy technologies. These are: wave and ocean power, solar thermal, wind power, and solar photovoltaic; carbon storage was the fourth biggest growth segment. The largest number of jobs – 40% - in renewable energy are in hydropower. The next four sectors are wind, solar photovoltaic, biofuels / biomass, and solar thermal.

7. The majority of green jobs are in urban areas.

Of the 2.7 million jobs in the United States clean economy, a full 64%, or 1.7 million, are in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. Moreover, 75% of green job growth from 2003 to 2010 is in the 100 largest metro areas.

8. Among metro areas, New York City has the most green jobs while Knoxville, TN has had the most growth.

New York has a sizable 150,000 jobs in the eco-friendly sector, the next largest city, Los Angeles, has 90,000. Over the 2003-2010 period, Knoxville had a top green job growth rate of 14.6%; the next four cities were Raleigh, NC, Des Moines, IA, Little Rock, AR, and Albany, NY. Vis-a-vis point #9, it is noteworthy that 3 of the these 5 cities are in the South.

9. As a region, the South has the largest number of green jobs.

The Brookings Institution points out, that of the 21 U.S. states that have 50,000 or more green jobs, 7 of them are in the South. These states are: Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and South Carolina.

10. Finally, among states California has the largest number of green jobs.

California leads with the largest number of green jobs while Alaska had the highest growth, 10.2%, from 2003 to 2010.


After Alaska, the next four states with the best green job growth rates are: North Dakota, Hawaii, Wyoming and New Mexico.

So what are you waiting for? Your green job is out there for you to help you make a difference.  Find your next job now!